Don't let the whimsical album cover fool you: after their disturbingly somber (but pleasantly tuneful) sophomore release, the Eels promised a more "upbeat" pop record. "Daisies of the Galaxy," while not the moribund mantra of its predecessor, isn't exactly chipper. Igniting with the funeral march horns of "Grace Kelly Blues," the Eels parade through 16 tunes that have more episodes than a manic depressive. One can credit this to the rough years piling up on head Eel, E. His life riddled with family suicides and personal nadirs, E has seen more than most of us would ever wish to in our lives. It reflects in his music incredibly - and often, quite effectively. The quiet acoustic build-up of "Packing Blankets" mixes well with the campfire sing along "I Like Birds" and the gleefully cheeky "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues." It's the lyrics that often bog the disc down. "Some people like to call me Chuck/It's Charles to you/and you're * outta luck," E croons in the otherwise snappy "The Sound of Fear." "Little field mice living under the house/never eating much, tough life for a mouse," he preens in "Flyswatter." It's almost as if he has so much to say and so little words with which to say it. If anything, "Daisies of the Galaxy" is saved by the musical arrangements. A calliope of pump organs polishes "Tiger in My Tank." The soft combination of horns and mellotrons magnifies the solemnity of the title track. While there are slivers of hope that do peek through the gloom, "Daisies" isn't quite an accurate portrait of such an accomplished band. The doom and gloom is definitely more accessible and (oddly enough) more pleasing than the peppy tracks.