The new Eels album, Wonderful Glorious, dropped this week on Vagrant Records, offering fans various packaging options, including a double 10-inch orange vinyl configuration. A world tour kicks off on February 14th in Santa Ana, California.
The definition of Eels, as a band, has remained a fluid concept centered on the whims of singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett (a.k.a. "E") as they've unfolded over the past 17 years. Despite this constant motion, Eels albums have proven to be reliably conceptual. But after completing an album trilogy in 2010 – which saw three different albums released over a two-year span, each exploring a related theme — Everett decided to steer into unchartered territory for the making of Wonderful Glorious.
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"I decided it could be an interesting experiment to go into making it with absolutely no preconceived idea about what it would be about, or how it would sound musically," Everett tells Rolling Stone. "The plan was to have no plan and see what would happen, organically, when five guys got into a house full of instruments."
The resulting album sounds more dynamic than a typical Eels record, although all the classic elements are there. Everett, who has always retained creative control over anything and everything Eels, says that taking the fresh-canvas approach led to a more collaborative process, out of both necessity and design. "It was a good lesson for me," he says.
And while the approach to this particular album was different than anything he's attempted in the past, Everett maintains that he has always experimented with new "routines and recipes" during the actual recording process. "That said, I don’t think it's important to go to a different physical setting for each record," he says. "It's much more about the inside than the outside. You don't need to fly to Jamaica to find your new sound. If that's all you're going to do, you're probably going to make something that sounds like the last thing that you did."