End Times

Eels

Vagrant, 2010

http://www.eelstheband.com

REVIEW BY: Peter Vissers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/04/2010

Eels frontman Mark Everett, better known as E, has to be the most unhappy man in the world. His father was an alcoholic, his sister – long troubled by mental illness – committed suicide in 1996. Two years later his mother died of cancer. Following these unfortunate events, Eels released Electro-Shock Blues. The chain of unfortunate events went on,though. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Hombre Lobo and End Times –his seventh and eighth albums, respectively – are about Mark Everett’s divorce. End Times was released less than seven months after Hombre Lobo. “I felt guilty about the long gap between the last two albums so I’m making up for lost time,” Everett responds.

The album opener is a melancholy tune about how his relationship started and how great everything was. The second track, “Gone Man,” actually sounds quite jolly but its lyrics (“Talk to the dogs so I know I’m alive”) are hopelessly bitter again.  I know seven months is a little short to change style and sound completely, but the first three tracks sound exactly like everything on Hombre Lobo. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but songs like “The Beginning,” “In My Younger Days,” and “Nowadays” sound terribly similar; I’ve heard them all before.

Fortunately, End Times has its less awful moments too. “Apple Trees,” for example, is a marvelous 40-second interlude. The fourth track, “Mansions Of Los Feliz,” is very catchy and joyful (though the lyrics are about his troublesome divorce: “Well he’s gone out again and left you all alone / Come on over, I’m always home”). Another great song is “A Line In The Dirt,” which features a wonderful chorus.

End Times is not a dreadful album. It might not be the Eels record I hoped for, but it does contain a few beautiful songs. The problem is Mark Everett is perpetually drowning in self-pity, which makes this a weary listen. Still, it is a welcome addition to the Eels oeuvre, although I’m pretty sure they can do a lot better!

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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