Review: Eels – The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Published on May 9th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Eels’ sort-of-but-not-quite-eponymous new album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett recalls the spot-of-sunlight-on-the-wall bucolia of 2000’s exquisite Daisies of the Galaxy, distinguished as it is by stately, chiming piano and thick, parping horn sections.
The brooding, heartbroken country-folk of “Parallels” could be from this Beck’s recent Modern Guilt LP were it not laced with that characterful crack to Everett’s voice.
As ever on these pages, we are reminded of others along the way – “Agatha Chang” verges on Leonard Cohen for grizzled, elegant, balladry, even if the likes of “I couldn’t bear to break up the old gang / But I should have stayed with Agatha Chang” seem more like Big Star lyrics (also a good thing, we might add), while “Answers” is a little like “Sunday Morning” meets “I Got You Babe”.
“Series of Misunderstandings” channels the disturbed twinkling of early Eels, not least its gnarled vow to “teach that motherfucker that raised you how to treat you right”, and the songwriting behind dramatically sorrowful twilight confessional “Gentlemen’s Choice” could rightly be deemed ‘sophisticated’.
Throw in the blissed-out jangle pop of “Mistakes of My Youth” and you’ve got yourself another mighty fine Eels album. They’ll never change the world, but it’s undoubtedly a better place with them in it.
The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett is out now on E Works.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!