I do believe Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire by Eels has settled into the position of the summertime disc. The qualifiers for that designation always catch me by surprise, and this year has been no exception.
I couldn't have identified Eels from fish bait before I hit "download" a month ago. Even if I'd known these guys had scored a significant song on each of the Shrek soundtracks I couldn't have said which they were (those discs belong to the girls and I try to avoid playing them nearly as often as the girls try to spin them). And while I usually zero in on a harder sound and lyrics that tickle the funny-bone, Hombre Lobo (mostly) eschews irony in favor of straightforward wooing, swinging from the horny to the heartfelt in equal measure.
There's a lot of testosterone here, to be sure, but no lack of brains. When the album is tallied up, I figure the singer of these songs to be the clever sort of chap who inadvertently generated the confused and wounded pretzels at the heart of Aimee Mann's songs. From this distance/at my age, that's a lot of fun to listen to (e, A).
Small quibble: I realize the industry is in profound disarray, and that 12 Songs was recorded with an intentional in-your-face-til-I'm-blurry effect, but PLEASE! Could we settle on an industry standard for file compression?!? I'm at the point where I'm using Audacity to tone it down. Especially for those of us who are still listening to files that go back to the late 80s, the variance from silence to noise is getting just a little crazy.