With an already impressive back catalogue, Mark Oliver Everett’s Eels add yet another notch to the tally with latest installment The Deconstruction.
Recorded with producer Mickey Petralia (from Electro-Shock Blues days), it sees Everett (or E, by his stage name) team up with longtime collaborators Koool G Murder and P-Boo alongside the Deconstruction Orchestra & Choir, taking listeners a rollercoaster ride into the emotive and sometimes whimsical world view of E in his iconic orchestral indie rock manner.
Undeniably, Electro Shock Blues is Eels’ magnum opus, but there’s just something about The Deconstruction that gets it oh so close to swiping the title. Sound-wise it’s nothing new, it’s just those gentle orchestral sounds and E’s pleasant vocals that seem to make for another great album.
Opener and title track The Deconstruction is a warm, string-centric song reintroducing you to what Eels’ sound is all about. From the soothing sounds of vocal free instrumental Coming Back, to the menacing but catchy Bone Dry, or the upbeat vibe of Today Is the Day, each song is different enough to know your listening to a different track yet undoubtedly still listening to Eels.
Despite the grim references of Sweet Scorched Earth, it makes for a beautiful love song, just in Eels’ slightly macabre style with its somewhat climate change and nuclear fallout overtone. Remove the grim vocals and it could be on a Disney soundtrack, with its unsettling intro setting the scene for something bad happening before flowing into a soft, lofty sound oozing with happiness.
Be Hurt is one of those deeper, emotive tracks that’ll have you just absorbing its sadness while things quickly change a mere four minutes later when You Are The Shining Light kicks in and throws you into an Austin Powers-like swingers party moment. It’s got a groovy party vibe that will undoubtedly get your body in motion as you attempt to bust out some 60s moves, encouraged by the vocals.
Shortest track Archie Goodnight is a heart-warming lullaby-like dedication to E’s son Archie before closer In Our Cathedral leaves you feeling satisfied and relaxed.
A highlight for Eels’ albums is the way an almost consistent flow of mellow tracks is maintained, but with the odd increased tempo pop or rock curveball thrown in there. Electro-Shock Blues had Cancer for the Cure, Hospital Food and Last Stop: This Town, which felt a little out of place at first, yet still managed to fit the album nicely overall.
Similarly, The Deconstruction has Bone Dry, Today Is the Day and You Are the Shining Light to fill that niche, faster and more upbeat to the rest of the album yet still forming an integral part of it, without seeming out of place at all.
The Deconstruction is an album of sophistication, emotion and simple fun, something easy to listen to and enjoy. One seemingly best listened to on vinyl with a fine scotch or wine in hand for best experience, it’s daydreaming or pondering music with a spring in its step that hits all the right spots.
If you’re fan of Eels past work, The Deconstruction is simply a must have that won’t leave you disappointed. Alternatively, as E simply put it on their official website, “Fuck all this jibber jabber and see if you like this new record”.