Eels — The Deconstruction (April 6, 2018) •★•≥•★• Centered around the twisted mind of e, band offers a novel twist on post~grunge, lo~fi American indie~rock. Formed: 1995 in Los Angeles, CA
Birth name: Mark Oliver Everett
Also known as: E, MC Honky
Born: April 10, 1963, Virginia
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboard, drums, bass guitar
Location: Atwater Village, East Side of Los Angeles, California
Genre: Indie Rock
Album release: April 6, 2018
Studio: The Compound, Los Feliz, California, U.S. The Pie, Pasadena, California, U.S.
Record Label: EWorks / PIAS
01. The Deconstruction 4:11
02. Bone Dry 3:42
03. The Quandary 0:55
04. Premonition 3:13
05. Rusty Pipes 4:04
06. The Epiphany 2:18
07. Today Is The Day 3:04
08. Sweet Scorched Earth 3:02
09. Coming Back 0:59
10. Be Hurt 3:59
11. You Are The Shining Light 3:39
12. There I Said It 2:50
13. Archie Goodnight 0:48
14. The Unanswerable 2:08
15. In Our Cathedral 3:19
℗ 2018 E Works
•★• E — guitar, vocals, production
•★• Koool G Murder — bass guitar
•★• P~Boo — guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums
with The Deconstruction Orchestra & ChoirReview
It’s not always an easy listen but anything worthwhile generally isn’t.
Written By Hal Horowitz // April 4, 2018 // Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
•★• You have to respect a songwriter who spits out “Don’t lift a finger while I lay dying/ my heart is bone dry … you drank all the blood” followed by a cheery “sha~la~la” and later a Sinatra~inspired “shooby~dooby~doo,” as if this might be destined for a radio~ready single. That’s the idiosyncratic world of the redoubtable Mark Oliver Everett, a.k.a. “E,’” a.k.a. “EELS guy,” as he calls himself in the notes to this, his 12th studio album.
•★• Since 1992 the heavily bearded auteur Everett — then going under the “A Man Called E” moniker for his first single “Hello Cruel World” (how’s that for a career starter?) ~has been laying his trials and tribulations out there for all to see. And he’s had his share: a sister committed suicide, mother died of cancer, broken romantic relationships, dealing with aging, etc. That’s in addition to the usual label business merry~go~round for a guy whose music is so personal and quirky he is likely never going to be a household name.
•★• EELS’ first album in four years, following 2014’s pointedly titled The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, is another in a line of unflinching releases that shine a light on the singer~songwriter’s view of … well, everything. Despite being the guy who once named an early major label album Electro Shock Blues — that’ll scare off all but the most open~minded listeners — he generally sports a positive approach to the world. “I had a premonition/ everything’s gonna be fine … It’s not the weight you carry/ it’s how you carry it/ we can get through anything” he sings to a lover in his distinctly plainspoken, flinty voice on “Premonition.” And even if the backing which shifts from stark to grand — some songs include a full orchestra and chorus — is sober, Everett’s knack for melody, evocative arrangements and the sheer honesty of his singing will keep you engaged throughout the disc’s 15 tracks that fly by in under 45 minutes.
•★• “I’ll break apart,” he tells us in the opening title track atop orchestral sections, funky beats that appear then disappear, and falsetto singing that makes this track seem inspired by the elaborate Pet Sounds blueprint. Everett takes us on a winding, unpredictable musical journey in just over four minutes, an indication of how smart, driven and imaginative his artistry is. Elsewhere, the jaunty, luminescent, Motown~ish pop of “Today is the Day” might actually grab some crossover play replete with lyrics about changing your life for the better. It’s one of the few EELS songs that will leave you with a smile.
•★• Between the elaborate widescreen orchestration of the predominantly instrumental “The Unanswerable,” the hip~shaking, soulful, handclap~led psychedelic rocking of the following “You Are the Shining Light,” and stark, stripped down, emotionally bare piano ballads such as “There I Said It,” Everett covers a lot of sonic territory on The Deconstruction. The album is somewhat of a musical and philosophical rollercoaster. But that’s all in a day’s work for Everett who adds to his already impressive, uncompromising catalog with another expressive, rugged and diverse gem. It’s not always an easy listen but anything worthwhile generally isn’t and kudos to Everett for having the guts and musical fortitude to pull it off … as he always has.
★ We could do the usual record company “bio” about this new record, but, seriously… who gives a fuck.
★ The world is a mess. This is just music. Music by someone who tends to believe that change starts in your own backyard. I’m just optimistic enough to believe that kind of thing can still help people.
★ It doesn’t have any answers, other than maybe that there is no answer, the dust never settles, everything is out of control, etc. But it offers this: you can make changes. Thus, you can change the world. Right?
★ Maybe if there’s anything we have any true control over, it’s how we see things. There’s a song about that here. The “our” of “In Our Cathedral” is the collective “our” — all of us. Your point of view. As the great Roger Miller once said, “You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, but you can be happy if you've a mind to.” He said it better than I did.
★ The other thing we can do while everything’s such a mess is just try to be kind. Why not? We all have bad days, but why not put in the effort whenever possible? Nobody has it easy, however their story may appear from a distance. So why not try to be nice? Starting with yourself. That’s a nice change for the world right there. Good things will grow out of that. There are some songs along those lines here as well.
★ I’ve been through some stuff, but I’m no expert. I’m trying to dead reckon my way same as anyone. I’m really just talking to myself here, looking for what’s really there under all the defenses. But maybe it could help you too?
★ Or: Fuck all this jibber jabber and see if you like this new record.
★ Here are 15 new EELS tracks that may or may not inspire, rock, or not rock you. The world is going nuts. But if you look for it, there is still great beauty to be found. Sometimes you don’t even have to look for it. Other times you have to try to make it yourself. And then there are times you have to tear something apart to find something beautiful inside.
Best wishes on future endeavors,