Mark Eitzel

The Invisible Man’ is a wildly adventurous musical departure for Mark Eitzel, and, we think, the finest album of his career.

After seven albums fronting American Music Club (1985-1994), garnering endless “Album of the Year” and “Songwriter of the Year” accolades from magazines such as Rolling Stone and Spin, Eitzel went on to a critically successful solo career. On the three solo albums, he was joined by various collaborators such as Bruce Kaphan and Danny Pearson of AMC, James McNew from Yo La Tengo, Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, and Peter Buck from REM. The big story on ‘The Invisible Man,’ however, is that Mark has chosen to go it alone; doing most of the producing, recording and arranging, and playing most of the instruments himself, yet creating a sound that takes over the room like nothing else this year.

A listen to just the first song (“The Boy With The Hammer In The Paper Bag”) might lead one to think that Eitzel has made an electronic album with seething lyrics, while the last song (the single “Proclaim Your Joy”) is a hilarious and uplifting rock song, that would give a completely different impression if heard by itself. In between, Eitzel covers a wide landscape. ‘The Invisible Man’ is an extraordinarily dramatic and emotional album, one that has both dark moments and uncharacteristically optimistic ones. Humour and gravity, proclamations of despair and joy — with a few curveballs. What is particularly notable throughout is that there are more choruses and genuinely catchy hooks per square inch than any other Eitzel album.

For the uninitiated, Mark Eitzel is a songwriter and musician admired by a diverse array of artists, from Joni Mitchell to Tricky, Polly Harvey to Elton John, Elvis Costello to Stephin Merritt, Sheryl Crow to Ryan Adams, to name just a few. An Eitzel tribute album, Come On Beautiful, was released in October 2000, with tracks by Calexico, Lambchop and others. Live renditions of Eitzel songs have also been performed by bands including The Divine Comedy, Everything But The Girl and The Indigo Girls.

The year 2000 also saw the release of Wish The World Away, a critical biography of Eitzel and American Music Club by Sean Body (SAF Publishing, UK), and Warner Brothers reissued the first two American Music Club albums (Engine and Restless Stranger), with bonus tracks.
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