Eels – The Deconstruction

Eels have always presented a conundrum for me – for every heartbreaking song that touches my soul they’ve had a bland middle of the road mid-tempo rocker that did nothing for me. 1998’s Electro-Shock Blues was the rare album that hit me fully on just about every song. Nuanced, emotional, depressing – it hit everything that I love. Other albums have come close, while others have been forgettable. It’s been 4 years since Mark Oliver Everett’s Eels have released an album. That album – 2014’s The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett represented a solid record with a few mix tape worthy songs of note. 2018’s The Deconstruction betters this in just about every way. In fact, it might be my favorite Eels album in almost 20 years.

The title track kicks the album off in stunning fashion. Strings, beats, world-weary vocals – it sets a high mark for the album that the band only equals a few times more. Lyrically, this harkens back to the darkest moments that E has shared with us in the past. “I tell you nothing changes / Till you start to break it down / And break apart / I’ll break apart”. Premonition is easily my favorite song of the album. Haunting, sad, hopeful – it is everything I love in an Eels song. Minimal backing, acoustic guitar and tasteful orchestral flourishes. The words really shine here along with their delivery. “I had a premonition / It’s all gonna be fine / You can kill or be killed / But the sun’s gonna shine” and “It’s not the weight you carry / It’s how you carry it”. Heavy, beautiful stuff. Rusty Pipes has a bit of a 60’s girl group vibe to it – soulful, killer groove. It’s a nice hybrid sound of modern Eels and Novocaine For the Soul era Eels. Be Hurt feels like a soul song as filtered through the Eels world view. Simple beat and groove while E croons overtop. “I know, you made a big mistake / You left a lot of damage / Floating in the wake / Though your actions were unwise / You’ll still see the sunrise”. Wish I couldn’t relate to those words so much. The album closes with In Our Cathedral – a hymn to the broke spirited and the healing process. It is a perfect album closer.

The Deconstruction is not a perfect album. The sequencing is unusual. – It flows well for the 1st 10 or 11 tracks before ending the album with 4 slower numbers in a row. It dulls the impact of the closer, which is unfortunate. The straight forward rock songs fall a bit flat, though I’ve come to appreciate Today Is The Day a bit more as heard within the context of the album. There are a few songs that clock in at under a minute that serve as segues to the next song. Drop 1 or 2, sequence the songs slightly differently, and you have a masterpiece. So it goes. It still is a great album and I’m looking forward to the Seattle show in June.

The new album by Eels – The Deconstruction – is out now and available where all good music is sold.

Verdict: A Welcome Addition to the Eels discography

For Fans of: Journey, Galaxie 500, Yo La Tengo, Foreigner, The Cure, Toad the Wet Sprocket

Tracks:

  1. The Deconstruction
  2. Bone Dry
  3. The Quandary
  4. Premonition
  5. Rusty Pipes
  6. The Epiphany
  7. Today Is The Day
  8. Sweet Scorched Earth
  9. Coming Back
  10. Be Hurt
  11. You Are The Shining Light
  12. There I Said It
  13. Archie Goodnight
  14. The Unanswerable
  15. In Our Cathedral

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