Eels – Tomorrow Morning (E Works) 23/08/2010

September 14, 2010 by  

“Tomorrow Morning” is the final instalment of the Eels trilogy that included previous LPs “Hombre Lobo” and “End Times”. Whereas the previous two carried very dark and bleak themes, following Eels main songwriter and frontman Mark Oliver Everett’s (better known as E) recent break-up with his long-time girlfriend; “Tomorrow Morning” contains more of the innocent and playful style that bring to mind their earlier material.

The good-humoured “Baby Loves Me” uses plenty of amusing lo-fi electronic sounds – as if E is starting to forget the past and instead have fun and celebrate his new found love, which he still can’t believe himself, “My baby loves me / Unlikely but true”. “Spectacular Girl” also implies that things are finally working out for him, “I’m gonna get there, I’m tellin’ you sir / I’m a man on a mission and I’m all about her / She’s a spectacular girl”. This good fortune continues with “Oh So Lovely” which begins with sparkling ear-candy synths before adventuring to an upbeat journey full of rich string sections and triumphant “Yeah!” chorus shouts.

Some of the Eels’ greatest pieces of work on previous albums were often found in their instrumental vignette sections, like “Going to your Funeral (Part II)” or “Estate Sale”. There are a few of these gems to be found here, such as the mixture of toy piano and warped orchestra samples that gradually fade in and out on “In Gratitude For This Magnificent Day”, whilst “After the Earthquake” contains a pleasant organ lead that is backed by a fitting chord sequence of guitars and distant synths.

Centrepiece “This Is Where It Gets Good” is aptly titled, as it brings out all of the essentials of a great Eels track: start/stop breakdowns, DIY sounds mixed with orchestra sections and E’s typical deadpan vocal delivery. The trilogy concludes in joyful style on “Mystery of Life”, where E begins to look towards the bright side of life, “No more sorrow, no more strife / Always some daylight followin’ the night” which then rises into an upbeat chorus full of catchy “la-la-la” backing vocals.

Despite all of this newly found joy, there are a few tracks where the standard Eels formula is perhaps used too much. “I Like the Way This Is Going” sounds almost identical to something from “Daises from the Galaxy”, whereas “That’s Not Her Way” becomes bland and repetitive, and doesn’t offer much aside from a basic song structure. The gospel sounding “Looking Up” will most likely make you cringe rather than want to clap along to E’s preacher-like calls for recovery (although at least it sees him trying a different direction).

Considering that Eels have released three albums within two years – which is rare for an artist to do these days – this is a warm and enjoyable way to finish what was always going to be an ambitious project. Tomorrow Morning may not be the album that you would recommend to newcomers to the band, but for fans it is an essential buy. After suffering from a tragic life full of heartbreak and family deaths, it is heart-warming to hear E finally sing about the good things in life. Don’t you just love a happy ending?

[rating:4]


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