By David Kenney
Ground control to Major Tom: Eels ready for lift-off.
After the chaotic and disappointing Electro-Shock Blues, lead Eel E revamps his Beautiful Freak sound via an acoustic blender. Gone are the noisy guitars with E using hushed acoustics to balance his ballerina-box keyboards. Daisies of the Galaxy is where E gets even.
E is one of those kids who probably grew up watching Mr. Rogers, singing along to every silly song. Now he’s on his own kick, doling out hopeful and bitter ditties. Backed by ’50s game show theme songs and warped lullaby sounds, E’s nonsensical lyrics are a bad day cure. The anthemic "I Like Birds" is so dumb-fun, it’s embarrassing. The ballad "It’s a Motherfucker" drills the woe-is-me post-relationship whining, but with a subtle grin that’s intentionally ha-ha. Beyond the fun, Daises of the Galaxy shows a master in the making. Make room Beck, there’s a new geek in town. His name is E and once again, here’s where he gets even.