Following the release of his bleakly personal double album Blinking Lights And Other Revelations in 2005, Mark Oliver Everett - better known simply as E - seemed to spend the rest of that decade spent. With good reason; the 33 track opus came in wake of the suicide of his sister, the death of his parents and his cousin's role as flight attendant on the fatal 9/11 plane. That's an awful lot to take in, and the pain absorbed by the stalwart songwriter was all too clear in Blinking Lights And Other Revelations' intense confessionals.
E has since written a trilogy of albums, each with their own diminishing returns; it felt like he'd said all he could say for a time after Blinking Lights. , but if 2009's Hombre Lobo, and 2010's End Times and Tomorrow Morning felt like the sound of an artist starting to run out of puff, then Wonderful, Glorious is a marked attempt to return to the late 90's and early part of the noughties, where albums like Beautiful Freak, Electro-Shock Blues and Souljacker overcame the depression of their contents with an anger too, a defiance that stopped him from sinking too deeply into his shoes, as he began to thereafter.
'Bombs Away' opens the album and is a spiky, confrontational number, the feel of a man shaking himself out of despondency and reigniting the fire within, "I will be heard, and your opinion will wait its turn" E orders, in that familiar husk of a voice, sounding like a man downtrodden for too long. 'Kinda Fuzzy' is another aggressive number, E snarling "don't mess with me I'm up for a fight", and yet as soon as he utters that things fall away, 'Accident Prone' an almost apologetically timid slumber that sees mojo lost and a retreat made. Thankfully it's just a brief respite, and much of Wonderful, Glorious is, if not strong enough to be labelled his 'finest in years', certainly representative of a man re-energised after three years away rediscovering his thirst for music and life.
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