This record is simply amazing. I've yet to hear another album that flows so well from track to track--almost seamlessly. Eels mastermind E is always coming up with better than great stuff (just check out any other Eels album for proof) and really established a high-water mark here on the first Eels album. The melodies, all simple, almost childlike at times, are straightforward and reel you in immediately. The opening track "Novocaine For The Soul," the song for which the band is known largely to the public, is a wonderful pop creation, pure ear candy. The narrative "Susan's House," a spoken/sung track that incorporates a jazzy upright bass sound, an old school hip-hoppish drumbeat sound, and a Gladys Knight & The Pips piano sample into the chorus, is the most experimental track here, for a band known for mucho experimentation, but it still sounds as flawless and like something you could hear on the radio (that is, if radio actually paid any attention to the Eels) as the other tracks.
As always, E's lyrics deal with his usual stuff--chronicles of his status as the smart, cynical, too-cool for mass consumption outsider ("Guest List"), then there are the character sketches ("Beautiful Freak.") It's been a few years since this came out, and there are a lot more songwriters that write similar lyrics to E, but nobody does this stuff better than E.