The Deal: Eels release sorrowfully personal album.
The Good: Those familiar with Eels know front man Mark Oliver Everett, better known as E, likes to let loose with his emotions through music. Even before Eels began, his solo efforts typically reflected on feelings of despair. Eels has released a stream of diverse albums and the most recent is all about a sweet love turned sour. E reveals his heartache and confesses the struggle he faces to mend his broken heart. But, digging deeper, one also picks up on a feeling of depletion towards growing older in a world full of uncertainties. Many of the songs are acoustic and dreary, like "End Times," "Nowadays," and the album's first single "Little Bird." But nevertheless speed picks up on the rockabilly-style "Gone Man," the bluesy "Paradise Blues," as well as upbeat fares like, "Mansions of Los Feliz," and "Unhinged." All together, there are 14 tracks on the disc and most are short and sweet. The longest track (and last) on the album, "On My Feet," which weighs in at 6 minutes, 21 seconds, is the calm at the end of the storm, as it leaves its listeners with a shred of optimism. Impressively, the album was largely self-recorded on a four-track tape machine in the basement of E's Los Angeles home.
The Bad: While Eels' last album, Hombre Lobo, released six months earlier, was a rock-bopping medley based on the desires of a fictional character, End Times is the real sullen-stricken deal. If it's happy-go-lucky lyrical ditties that you want, you won't find 'em here.
The Verdict: End Times is honest, and songs are catchy, despite the overall melancholy feel that treads throughout the entirety of the disc. Check it out.
Vagrant; Release date: Jan. 19, 2010