Eels’ find themselves flourishing once again, with E. looking outwards rather than inwards on ‘The Deconstruction’.
Label: E Works Records
Released: 6th April 2018
Having burnt the candle at both ends with the release of their eleventh album, ‘The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett’ – which doubled up as their fifth in five years – Eels’ creative backbone E. needed a break from creation whether he truly knew it or not. Breaking away from the contriving Americana-disguised-as-indie-rock tripe turned out on the aforementioned ‘Cautionary Tales…’, Eels’ find themselves flourishing once again, with E. looking outwards rather than inwards on ‘The Deconstruction’.
‘The Deconstruction’ looks back as much as it does forward, reuniting E. with Mickey Petralia in the production chair for the first time since 1998’s ‘Electro-Shock Blues’, which is perhaps where ‘The Deconstruction’ sits closest to in terms of artistic exploration, albeit with the addition of sweeping orchestral movements that underlay and interplay with occasionally-distorted, often-jangly guitar licks and funk-driven basslines in the form of the originally-named ‘Deconstruction Orchestra & Choir’.
The titular opener is a red herring, navigating itself through acoustic-plucking, high-pitched string-attacks, and noir-like basslines that build and bubble like a cauldron in a Witch’s lair, and yet for the most part, ‘The Deconstruction’ as an album is far removed from this, discarding the seediness of its opener in exchange for the reconstruction of the beauty of the world as requested melancholically by E. on the track.
While jangly guitars that distort and fuzz like a bee in hyperspace collide gracefully with flourishing orchestral movements, and choral harmonies bring life to E’s indie-rock delivery alongside somewhat danceable basslines, it’s the moments E strips it back to Sunday morning sunrises that this record shines and hides away its awful ignorance of pace. ‘Premonition’ and ‘Sweet Scorched Earth’ are E at his most vulnerable, wearing his heart on his sleeve through softly-sweeping strings and jangly lines, singing with desperation and hope lodged in his lungs: “You can kill or be killed, but the sun’s gonna shine/I had a premonition that we’re gonna get by, you and I have a love that never can die.”
‘The Deconstruction’ is a creative sigh of relief for an artist who had driven his songwriting machine into a block-shaped coma and left it to lie in wait for a cure, despite its disastrous desire to stray from pace at unnecessary times. Jack Press