The lyric sheet, if there were one, would read like an exercise in middle age regret, but Eels’ new album is a masterpiece of uplifting melancholy.
Mainman Mark “E” Everett is ploughing the same furrow of Americana as did Beck on this year’s Morning Phase – which this both resembles and somehow betters.
Whatever has been going on in his personal life of late, it’s not good. Gentleman’s Choice finds him all woe-is-me, insiting that “the life that I’ve led, I’m better off dead, the world has no room for my kind” while Agatha Chang has him wishing he’d stayed with the titular heroine.
But the music, the music … whether it’s the simple pick ‘n’ strum Americana of Where I’m From or Kindred Spirit (“She’s a kindred spirit, when all fades to black, She’s got a real big heart, and I gotta win it back”) or the heavy-hearted likes of Parallels, Agatha Chang and Answers (“I thought I’d have some answers by now”) Everett’s songs are among the most beautiful you’ll hear.
Happily, he sounds positive enough on the closing Where I’m Going (“I’ve got a good feeling ’bout where I’m going”). Let’s hope it’s somewhere better than where he’s been because on this evidence that’s the least he deserves. Highly recommended.
Like this? Try these: Beck, Morning Phase; Lemonheads: Come on Feel the Lemonheads; Fountains of Wayne: Welcome Interstate Managers