Release Date: 09.24.01 (UK) 01.02 (U.S.)
Record label: dreamworks
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent
All too often the quality bands leave three or four years between their albums, so we should all be highly delighted that the Eels have graced the charts with their second album in little over 18 months.
Souljacker, named after the medias nickname for a serial killer in the 1990s, is a darker affair than Daisies Of The Galaxy, returning them back to the firmer roots of their foundation album Beautiful Freak and the follow-up, Electro-Shock Blues. But Souljacker is more mature than these first two recordings, even if it does harbour a similar gloomy feel that E seemed to have left behind in the years after his mothers death.
The depressing sound of "Woman Driving, Man Sleeping" and "Fresh Feeling" are performed in the typical Eels style that leave you pensive, but with a memorable tune in the head, soon finding yourself singing along. The classics on Souljacker are many, and typified by "Dog Faced Boy," an opener that introduces us to their new deep bass sound, which keeps making an appearance elsewhere on the record.
"Bus Stop Boxer" is also a carefully crafted tune with a haunting guitar and brilliantly sung chorus, while "Jungle Telegraph" is a manic rush of a track about a man who is born in a storm, grows up to be a prostitute, kills a man and runs off to Africa to live his life out high in a tree. Work that one out if you can, but the Mississippi interlude in the middle of it is a sheer delight, just like the Latin influence that carves "Thats Not Really Funny" into such a remarkable song.
The "Souljacker" murderer was so named because he claimed to steel the souls of the people that he had killed, and part of the newly bearded Es mission was to show that living in a soulless world was empty and ugly, a theme definitely explored in "World Of Shit."
The Eels may not be everybodys cup of tea, they are not upbeat, you cant really dance to them and some tracks are so depressing that all sharp instruments should be hidden away before you listen to it in case you try to harm yourself. But the repeated musical and vocal quality of their albums cannot be ignored, and Souljacker simply builds on the impressive foundations they had already laid. 02-Oct-2001 10:12 PM