Review: Eels – End Times

399 eels end times

End times is the 8th studio album from veteran indie rocker Mark Oliver Everett (often known as E), son of Hugh Everett III, a genius and extremely reclusive man until death, here’s an article on him. Also E has a book out, an autobiography that is simultaniously funny, heartbreaking and wonderful, check out out. End times comes off the heels of the somewhat disapointing quasi concept album “Hombre Lobo”, less than a year later he delivers beauty in abundance.

Never one to start with a bang, opener “In My Younger Days” starts with a cough classic Eels acoustic guitars cut into the silence, gently strummed. a ballad of the lonely man running out of time, taking too many knocks, its chord structure later to become a recurring motif within the album, a reminder of the reality’s of age. “Little Bird” fuels his long obsession with bird themed songs “Little bird/Hopping on my porch/I know it sounds kinda sad/But whats it all for?/Right now you’re the only friend I have in the world” Its familiar, certainly to anyone who’s heard a passing song or two from earlier albums it sounds like a their more bleary eyed cousin.¬† From the familiarity though there are new sounds found, branching out into blues on “Gone Man”, country on album stand out “The Mansions Of Los Feliz” a transition that never feels jarring or forced, its magnificent.

“End Times” whilst being a good name for an album, is one of the weaker songs on the album, a shame. It plods along being neither here nor there, up or down ect ect. “Apple Tree’s” isn’t a song, more of a tiny monologue with music over the top, it broke my heart. “Paradise Blues” is about a suicide bomber, well on the face of it anyway, more likely a self destructive girl whos taking him down with her. It chugs along doing its best rock impression like a b-side from Hombre Lobo. “Nowadays brings back the chords from “In My Younger Days” to great effect before once again falling into the messy rock of “Unhinged”, look, E, its just not working out, bring me more acoustic! “High And Lonesome” is the sound of a rainy street, seriously. That’s it. “I Need A Mother” is so honest it hurts, piano chords repeat that motif, a sense of closure tailing not far behind, a cycle maybe. And then we have “On My Feet” which is, as usual, gorgeous. And as with the rest of the album, immensely hard to write about, its mostly acoustic, E’s voice is both warm and rough. the guitars are employed with a great sense of accomplishment and there are often no drums to speak of. Young bands could all do with looking at Eels back catalogue, Its a guide to mental illness, depression, love and ultimatly immense loss. End times is extremely good, a welcome return to form that feels so effortless you almost have to laugh.

8/10

Alec

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