Eels End Times

Eels End Times
When word got out that the latest record from Eels would be front-man Mark Oliver Everett's break-up record, many asked, "Aren't all of his albums break-up records?" Coming a mere six months after last year's Hombre Lobo, End Times is a far more consistent album, more focused and inspired than last year's offering, despite the obvious pain that led to its creation. Many of the tracks, like opener "The Beginning," are sparsely orchestrated remembrances of a failed relationship. But the tracks lack the bitter sting that so many other divorce songs carry. The tone of End Times instead is bittersweet. Everett's lyrics are, thankfully, more suited to looking back with a self-aware perspective than barfing up in the moment, finger-pointing bile. Everett doesn't mask his pain in convoluted metaphors, rather he addresses it head on with lines like, "She used to love me, but it's over now/that was a good thing, but it's gone man, gone." The frank admissions create a feeling of warmth, something that's always drawn listeners to his music. In many ways, End Times is a companion piece to Eels' second album, Electro Shock Blues, inspired by his sister's suicide and his mother's battle with cancer. A fan favourite, it's also an incredibly heart-wrenching experience to listen to Everett's inner turmoil. Is suffering the key to great art? Maybe, but as listeners, we've definitely benefited from Everett's pain. (Vagrant)