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Eels
Electro-Shock Blues


3.5
great

Review

by The Jungler USER (183 Reviews)
July 20th, 2006 | 63 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


Electro-Shock Blues is more a reaction than an album, full of motion picture melodies, detached drumbeats and morbidly sad lyrics. It is in many ways a reaction to Mark “E” Oliver Everett (sole eels member) losing most of his family during a long winter. There’s anger, sadness, drug abuse and an imposing sense of fear in the voice and lyrics of E. Any album that begins with a boy finding his mother on the bathroom floor after a suicide is definitely one to mess you up.

But for an album with such a morbid tale to tell, E-SB has a very peaceful cover, a young child floating through space with his mother by his side and a dog on a string. The whole picture is premature, looking like it was painted by an 8 year-old. But when one gets down to listening, they actually might find many similarities. The emotion on the album, while very raw seems to be coming from a very young mind and more or less the album is very calming. Keep in mind it does have its brash, angry moments. The earliest example of this being Mark’s assault on his remaining family “Cancer for the Cure”. Grinding gears and a horrible noise awaken the tune before a warped break beat joins in. Mark’s lyrics to this track are devious and well written, though the chorus gets a little repetitive. But when E’s voice is not lashing out towards family and life it can be found playing, mildly distorted amidst lush keyboards and simple samples, like on the extremely sad title track, Electro-Shock Blues. In all honesty E-SB is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard, touching on therapy, drug use and prayer all climaxing with the introduction of a mysterious vocal sample.

A ray of light comes in the head bopper Last Stop: This Town. Set to a slightly complex beat Last Stop soars with it’s almost music box-esque guitars and folky feel. Mark’s voice is hardly fitting for the tune though; it comes off more as a bad Louis Armstrong impersonator than an indie pop hero. In fact, to be quite honest E’s voice hardly ever fits his song style, though it seems to work a bit better on the slower tunes (namely the Title Track, Dead of Winter and Climbing Up to the Moon). To me E’s voice is like a chef with hands much too big; or a monster trying to fit in to society. It’s seems to be hard to work with, and almost awkward in a tight situation. But fortunately E saves it with his quirky, Beck influenced lyrics and tight electronic beats.

By the time the album ends, E has regained composure, it ends with P.S. You Rock My World, an uplifting ballad with lyrics extremely different from the disturbing album opener Elizabeth on the Bathroom floor. The whole feel of the lyrics is very real, Mark goes through something we all must and comes out on top. Though the album, musically is no masterpiece, the beats work and it is extremely emotional. Unfortunately, overall, though the feel is extremely sad, parts can be a bit cheesy, not a good combo. E is a great song writer, but can’t save his album from faltering in areas. About half is gold and the other is decent. 3.5/5 for me.

-i03



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user ratings (356)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
letsgofishing (5)
Art doesn’t get much more meaningful than this....

Clumpy (4.5)
Maybe it's time to live....

Cubert99 (4.5)
E proves that through tragedy we can create something indispensable...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Zebra
Moderator
July 21st 2006


2647 Comments


This sounds like a depressing album that is fairly difficult to get into. I've never been to big on the Eels but this sounds promising. Pretty good reivew, although it could have used a bit more of info.

sgrevs
July 21st 2006


698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love this album, I think it's very strong in comparison to say, 'Shootnanny'.



'Cancer For The Cure', 'Hospital Food', and 'Last Stop: This Town' are all massive highlights.

AggravatedYeti
January 26th 2008


7683 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Nicely done.

Phantom
October 10th 2009


9010 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok so this fucking rules



there's not one song on here where i can't find something to enjoy.

Kiran
Emeritus
January 20th 2010


6133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow, this is really good

josephbh1
July 27th 2010


24 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Brilliant review, but Elizabeth was his sister, not his mum. The first song "Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor" is about his sister committing suicide. His mum sadly died of cancer. Still, great review :D

scissorlocked
October 11th 2011


3538 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album is pure awesomeness

scissorlocked
October 19th 2011


3538 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

not really

scissorlocked
October 20th 2011


3538 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

whatev...

Collis
July 25th 2012


662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty damn good!

omnipanzer
July 25th 2012


21827 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

uh, yeah it kind of is. ;^)

sinisterplague
February 23rd 2013


163 Comments


Wow, this is fucking amazing. Why is this only a 4.1 here?

sinisterplague
February 23rd 2013


163 Comments


Wow, this is fucking amazing. Why is this only a 4.1 here?

zakalwe
June 6th 2013


39236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Things get real when this album is played.

Dead of Winter is a morbid masterpiece and an all time favourite.

IAmScott
December 20th 2019


439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I forgot how stupidly good this album is. Last Stop This Town and The Medication Is Wearing Off are both excellent songs

DoofDoof
March 18th 2020


15326 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This sounds like my neighbourhood feels right now



Think Eels could be the band for the duration of this thing...

Pheromone
May 26th 2020


21443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is absolutely heartbreaking

zakalwe
May 26th 2020


39236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I haven’t spun the Dead of Winter since oh I dunno June 2013 or summink.

Pheromone
May 26th 2020


21443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Do you skip it if you listen through? It's definitely a hard one

zakalwe
May 26th 2020


39236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah the album is hard going. Very rarely does this get a full outing. It’s amazing though.



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