Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

EELS

End Times

2010-01-19

After only a few short months since their last release, the Eels are back with their eighth studio album with a large focus on the "End Times" - the aptly named title. Here, the focus isn't on the end of the world per say, but on the end of singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett's marriage. Most, if not all of the songs deal with this in one way or another - some more explicitly than others. It's as if Everett has opened up his journal for everyone to read only instead of reading it he turns them into songs and he sings them for us. The opener, "The Beginning," reflects on past circumstances and younger days when "everything was beautiful and free." "In My Younger Days," continues the lament with an element of anger surfacing over losing someone he still wants back. The songs "Mansions of Los Feliz" and the title track "End Times," diverts from personal issues ever so slightly and focuses on the larger and increasingly hostile world that finds itself (from Everett's point of view) teetering on the verge of self-destruction. In all its simplicity, "A Line in the Dirt" is one of the better sounding songs her with Everett's voice paired with a piano to offer another sad take on the trek called "life." Perhaps the best song here is "Unhinged" - one of only a couple of songs that has an upbeat edge to it. Sadly, five of the songs with a sound that would normally garner a lot of play and attention (Gone Man, Paradise Blues, Nowadays, Little Bird and On My Feet) are unplayable due to the lyrical content. Nevertheless, they're worth checking out on your own if you've got the time and the Eels are worth your attention. Overall, this effort from Eels is a heartfelt memoir that may work for some but might just be a little too sad for most. ~Reviewed by Jeff Bouma

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