Eels – End Times (Vagrant) 18/01/2010

January 27, 2010 by  

End Times is certainly E’s record. The long suffering front-man has never had the most optimistic outlook on life and on End Times he presents his bleak outlook in the most stripped back style of the band’s career to date. Gone are the left-field trip hop production of the band’s ’90s work that brought them their initial success or the visceral guitars of ‘Soul Jacker’. Instead, in their place are simple melodies played softly on acoustic guitars and vintage Gibsons jacked up to 50s tweed amps.

Starting fittingly with ‘The Beginning’ Everett lays down the melancholic precedent of the album, paring his tear jerking tale ‘Everything was beautiful and free / In the beginning’ with a simple worn acoustic guitar. The results are effective to say the least and the candid and almost confessional nature of the album draws out its real strength.

Everett’s laments and anguish continue throughout ‘ I’m not going to be ruled by hate, but it’s strong and it’s filling up my days’ he confesses on ‘In My Younger Days’ and by the time he wails ‘She is gone now, but nowhere near, seems like end times are hear’ on title track End Times it’s pretty clear that the album is a response to his recent divorce and is a retort of the most  plaintive kind.

It’s not just the pain from his recent divorce that dictates Everett’s lyrical subject matter. Everett has always been one to try and reconcile the world around him through his work, and on End Times he doesn’t refrain from venting his affliction toward modern society’s ailments. His political blues pastiche ‘Paradise Blues’, is a mocking jive, which adds a hefty chunk of bathos to proceedings ‘Scary little suicide bomber on the way to paradise’…’Your contempt and your sarcasm is so transparent, why don’t’ you give up the act now kid.’

When he manages to combine his anguish with the energy of old on the Stones-esque ‘Gone Man’, complete with ‘She used to love me, but it’s all over now’ chorus, the results are truly inspiring. But, ultimately it is Everett’s broken heart that dominates this album and gives his lyrics such weight and depth. As the final song ‘On My Feet’ plays out you’re left with a real sense of melancholy and heartache that can only be portrayed by an artist with the song-writing ability of E.

[rating:4.5]


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