Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The story of Eels - aka E, or Mark Oliver Everett -- has been one of the most interesting, and often autobiographical, journeys to follow in recent years.
There were many, rather too many, dark days in Everett's earlier life and he scrupulously recorded them in a way which made them universal. His candour and lyrical directness was not only courageous but affecting.
This time out there is even more self-reconciliation and on a track like Baby Loves Me he has a litany of his shortcoming but concludes "my baby loves me -- and she's smarter than you, unlikely but true" in the way Nick Cave might with Grinderman: it's a blues with tongue in cheek.
The opening track -- an electronic instrumental -- is entitled In Gratitude For This Magnificent Day and I'm A Hummingbird which follows sees him, without sentiment, croak "all the seconds and the minutes and the days and the weeks and the months and the years of my life, it was all worth it to be here now".
The Morning includes the lines "it's anybody's day, it could go any way, why would you not want to make the most of it?"
Delivering misery and uncertainty to teenagers is easy, but offering adults optimism in a cynical world is a hard sell. And this is also about small pleasures some take for granted (sunshine and light, domestic harmony and love) but have come as major discoveries for him: On Spectacular Girl he sings "part of the job of being her man is knowing when to let go of her hand . . . she sees the beauty in things we all miss, all good things are defined by her kiss".
Later he does an inventory and decides he's modest, looks okay, has got good manners and makes good pay "and you know that I am full of love for you".
As spare, simple and perhaps even obvious as these things seem -- and they have an almost conversational quality to them -- they still sound fresh . . . and perhaps re even a reminder thaat we should all take stock and count the good things.
The final lines on this album -- which is driven by electronic keyboards and drums rather than guitars or orchestration as in the past -- are these: "No more sorrow and no more strife, always some daylight following the night . . . good morning mystery of life".
Delightful, simple and a nice note-to-self in a cynical world where news headlines might have us believe otherwise of our short time here.