Eels
Hombre Lobo
(Vagrant ***)

"I am an hombre lobo," Mark Oliver Everett howls on "Tremendous Dynamite." That he steals the cadence of Howlin' Wolf's "Back Door Man" is just one example of the sly wit typical of Eels albums. He's also alluding to one of his own songs, "Dog Faced Boy" from 2001's Souljacker, and Hombre Lobo is in part the story of the dog boy turned wolfman. It's subtitled 12 Songs of Desire, and desire is a scary thing in Lobo's world, simmering with violence both physical and emotional.

Eels' eighth leans on heavy blues. For instance, "Fresh Blood" cribs from Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You." But not exclusively: seemingly sincere ballads ("All The Beautiful Things," "Ordinary Man") get juxtaposed with unhinged old-school rockers such as "Lilac Breeze," which borrows from Elvis Costello's "Mystery Dance." Lobo is typical eclectic Eels, and it's worthy of desire.