Singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett started out under the moniker A Man Called E, releasing two albums of dark, melodic pop in the early 1990s. After forming Eels and signing to a new label, Everett's work became even darker, and the production became more textural and sophisticated. Aside from a quirky, experimental 2003 effort under the name MC Honky, Everett has continued to refine his emotionally uncompromising, skillfully crafted vision with Eels, often to great critical acclaim if not stunning sales.
The sound of Eels' Electro-Shock Blues, the follow-up to the band's intriguing Beautiful Freak, reflects a year in which leader Mark "E" Everett suffered the loss of his sister to suicide as well as the illness of his mother and other tragedies. The music's hushed, sometimes dark sound and Everett's earnest vocals are often more convincing than his diary-entry lyrics, despite the power and daring inherent in describing illness in alt-pop settings that recall everything from hip-hop to Tom Waits. --Rickey Wright
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