Eels, 'Hombre Lobo' (Vagrant)

Critical Mass
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by Lindsey Thomas

Mark Oliver Everett takes his latest album title quite literally, unleashing predatory howls over distortion-ridden stompers like "Fresh Blood," only to awake as an innocent mensch. The gentler E distances himself from his lycanthropic alter ego, searching for Ms. Right backed by a familiar arsenal of winsome melodies and elegant string arrangements. The album doesn't declare an outright winner in the "hopeless romantic versus beast" showdown, but its catchiest track is a bouncy marriage proposal ("Beginner's Luck") complete with church bells.

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