Record Reviews

Eels New Release: End Times

Colm McAuliffe :: Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 9:30 am

“Crazy guy with a matted beard, standing on the corner.. she is gone now, seems like end times are here”.

E for Everett, Eels and now, End Times, Mark Everett’s “divorce” album where he merges the personal and the political, equating his personal loss with the world losing its integrity. 1998’s Electro-Shock Blues managed to capture the deaths of E’s family members quite captivatingly, so can he repeat the trick for the death of a relationship?

Yes, he can. E is undoubtedly well-versed in the art of crafting a morose pop tune or two but End Times sees the ‘crazy guy with a matted beard’ drastically stripping down his sound as the album was self-recorded on a four-track, mainly in his own basement. This results in a markedly more mature release, both musically and lyrically, as E admits “in my younger days, this wouldn’t have been so hard, I would’ve just shrugged it off, but now it’s tough”.

The album artwork depicts a maudlin, scruffy, lonesome figure, guitar in tow which sets the scene for the album and E’s hopelessly heartbroken accounts veer from sepia-toned nostalgia (”Apple Trees”) to vitriol (”Paradise Blues”) as he imagines his former lover as a suicide bomber, recklessly on her way to a “better place”.

This may sound like a relentlessy downbeat, repetitive account of something we have all been through but E’s knack for succinct lyrical gems pulls him through to the end where some form of emotional redemption may not be far off - the album’s closing line is “I just gotta get back on my feet”.

End Times, like it’s creator, is crestfallen and sorrowful but eloquent in it’s depiction of his sadness and that of the wider world. While certainly not an easy listen, we can only, as E states in “Gone Man”, “take small comfort in a dying world… I’m not the only one who’s feeling this pain”.