Eels - The Deconstruction - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Eels - The Deconstruction

by paul_guyet Rating:8 Release Date:2018-04-06
Eels - The Deconstruction
Eels - The Deconstruction

The Deconstruction is not the Eels album I wanted after four years of silence from E, but it’s the one that he wanted or perhaps needed to make in the current climate. Rather than screaming at the masses to rebel and retaliate for each and every individual freedom that been taken from us or slinking, numb and broken, into a corner until the fires either die out or consume us wholly, E has decided to take a somewhat wide-eyed approach to things: be better. Do better. By doing so, you will make this world better.

I always say context is important to the music of Mark Oliver Everett. Someone hearing "Today Is The Day" for the the first time not knowing Eels' deep and nuanced past works might think it a shockingly naive song penned by a tween with no life experience. "'I just wanted to sing my song about change'? Who the fuck do you think you are, Pollyanna?" But knowing E, knowing what he’s been through in his three decades writing music*, adds a lot. This bad dude's been through some shit, has gained some perspective, and maybe we should listen to him. If he thinks things can change, if he thinks things can get better, well, maybe there’s something to that.

“Nothing changes 'til you start to break it down and break apart” is the mission statement here. Also: Ask for help if you need it, offer help if you can, seize the day, change starts with you, you are loved, no matter what. Again, these are all trite, toothless platitudes coming from some fresh faced youngster, but coming out from E’s salt and pepper beard? There’s a wisdom there.

Enough armchair psychoanalysis. Musically, there are a lot of echoes of 2010's Tomorrow Morning as far as the programming and string arrangements. More of the latter. And the strings make everything here better (especially "Rusty Pipes"**, "In Our Cathedral", and "The Epiphany", that last one might have been better just spoken as opposed to performed the way it is. As it stands, it brings back bad memories of "Dead Reckoning" and "Series of Misunderstandings" from 2014's The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, neither of which fell correctly on the ear...). I’ve found over the years that most Eels music lends itself beautifully to string accompaniment. "Bone Dry" doesn't really fit with the aforementioned mission statement, but no one should care because it's such a goddamn good song, a straight up, kick-ass lament. Maybe a spiritual sequel to Hombre Lobo's "Fresh Blood". That's a definite standout here, along with the title track, "Premonition" (featuring E's trademark stalwart-hopefulness-despite-horrible-circumstances vibe), "Sweet Scorched Earth" (the most darling post-apocalyptic ballad ever), "You Are The Shining Light" (TASTE THE UPLIFTING ROCK), and "There I Said It" (deceptively mournful but actually quite sunny). "Archie Goodnight" sounds like a lullaby, "The Unanswerable" begins pensive but then blossoms into a perfect nugget of joy, complete with "la la la"'s, and, at the end, in “In Our Cathedral”, E tells us there’s a place where we don’t need to be afraid, a place where our battered hearts can still be open, a place where all pain and fear is locked away. A beautiful and reassuring sentiment.

So, is Everett reborn at the end of things? Or do we get to watch him do that on the next album in six months***? I don't know the man, but I feel that, as long as one person digs the message of The Deconstruction and tries to make a difference, then that would be enough for Mr. E.

* Seriously.

** Which I always thought was something to do with using too much cocaine...

*** Potentially called The Reconstruction?

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