For most of the last year, Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, the singular talent behind the Eels, has been in his basement studio working on Blinking Lights
a two-CD set crammed with 33 tracks -- more than an hour and a half of music. A few high-profile names pop up here and there, including Tom Waits, Peter Buck, and John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful; the theme to Welcome Back, Kotter
), but this is E's circus, a three-ring romp full of delicate pop ("Theme From Blinking Lights"), edgy New Wave rockers ("Going Fetal," "Old Shit/New Shit"), folky contemplations on meaning and mortality ("Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb"), and quietly exuberant meditations on this imperfect life ("Things the Grandchildren Should Know"). Blinking Lights
is another remarkable collection from a man moving through the world without a road map, inviting us to dance with him in the twilight zone between hope and resignation, despair and celebration.