A love song for all that is offbeat, Shootenanny! wonderfully captures the quirks of life without getting too bogged down by the depressing stuff.

A love song for all that is offbeat, Shootenanny! wonderfully captures the quirks of life without getting too bogged down by the depressing stuff. Where dark melodies and freak-show lyrics cut into the appeal of Eels' last album, Souljacker, Shootenanny! spotlights bitingly humorous songwriting and spirited, twinkly instrumentation. Highlights include "Dirty Girl." Here, frontman Mark Oliver "E" Everett declares, "I like a girl with a dirty mouth/ Someone I can believe," over infectious, campfire-like grooves. A delicate ode to the disenfranchised, "Love the Loveless," and the surprisingly uplifting "Rock Hard Times" are also noteworthy. Even when Everett steps into morose territory, as he does on "Restraining Order Blues," it's done with a sly wink. Don't be surprised if the quirky Shootenanny! encourages listeners to gladly throw in the towel at striving for normalcy.—SA