Eels Shootenanny!

Being an Eels fan has been a bit of a challenge, like trying to help a not-really-close friend through tough times — you want to be supportive and care, but it’s not necessarily your idea of a good time. To be fair, front-man E has gone through some serious stuff in the last few years — chronicled by the death-ridden Electro-Shock Blues, shellacked by the false cheer of Daisies of the Galaxy and hidden behind the fuzzy masks of his last effort, Souljacker. It’s been enough to leave fans wanting a little Novocain for our own souls, but here comes Shootenanny! With a simplified production approach and a new batch of catchy rock tunes, it finally seems like more fun and not so much work to decipher and enjoy an Eels record. But most importantly for E’s writing process, he actually gets out of his own head seemingly for the first time in a while — though he continues to write in the first person, tracks like "Restraining Order Blues” seem more like character studies and less like confessionals. No longer the kinda depressed introverted guys you didn’t want to bring to parties, these Eels wanna come out and play. (Dreamworks)