Mark Everett (aka ‘E’) never seemed to stand still when it came to writing, recording and playing music. His early stuff, brilliant as it often was, bordered occasionally on the whimsical and fey end of the musical spectrum, with highly personal lyrics from his own life experiences very much to the fore.
The fourth studio album, Souljacker, was a departure from the norm, almost nu-metal in nature, with the band beefed up by musicians whose rock credentials were impeccable, including John Parish, best known to UK audiences as a collaborator of PJ Harvey. The lyrics moved away from the personal and into the realms of storytelling based on fictional characters. The record company struggled with it, unable to issue anything as a single beyond the title track:-
With a riff that most run-of-the-mill rock bands would kill for, this 2001 single wouldn’t sound out of place on Kerrang TV. I like the song, but it’s one that I find disturbing for the reason that Johnny and Sally, the two main protagonists, seem to be unhinged and abused trailer-park dwellers who have an incestuous relationship…. the ending isn’t spelled out, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to anticipate it will be gory and not for the faint-hearted.
Souljacker Part 1 reached #30 in the UK singles chart in September 2001. The following month, the album was released, and it went in at #12 on its first week of release, an indication that Eels had a decent fanbase over here. The fact it dropped out of the Top 75 within two weeks would indicate that the album didn’t appeal much beyond said fan base.
The single came out on 7″ picture disc and 2 x CDs. Here’s the other tracks:-
The middle two songs are cover versions (Elvis Presley and The Hollies) while the final track is a different take on one of Eels best-known compositions, thanks to its inclusion on the soundtrack of the hit film, Shrek.