EELS – The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

Album: The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

Artist: Eels

Label: Play It Again Sam Recordings

Release Date: April 22, 2014

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 It’s impressive that someone could sound so sad for so many years yet never come across as pathetic. Mark “E” Everett has made a career of sad sad songs that somehow carry a quiet strength within. But don’t confuse strength with hope as his songs aren’t the “things are bad but it’s gonna be alright.” kind. Instead they simply give an honest take on bad news, sad situations and loss.

 Much has been made about E’s unlucky life but he continues to turn lemons into lemonade and sadness into songs. His seemingly endless cautionary tales documents pitfalls and failures meant to warn others from befalling the same fate. If they didn’t sound so damn beautiful you might feel sorry for him.

 One of the standout tracks, Parallels ties in with a PBS documentary E created about his father, a Quantum Physicist. This may seem a little out of the Eels comfort zone and where it could have gone all Prog-rock. E avoids these traps and comes out with a song about seeking answers big and small. He ties in the quest for love and truth, love and logic with such raw simplicity that I found myself with the song on repeat as I unwrapped the layers of the song without ever getting to the center.

 Other songs such as Dead Reckoning have a funeral dirge-like sludge that are hard to wash away.  Dark nursery rhymes would be a good way to describe some of Eels best work. While Morrissey is often credited as the king of mope, he is nothing compared to Eels’ irony free catalog.  Much like Beck’s last album, the production is  hushed, sparse and gently melodic.

 Rarely do mistakes of one’s youth sound so beautiful.

 DOWNLOAD: “Dead Reckoning”

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