Album Review

Eels - Eels Time!

Those who love E at his most contemplative will find plenty to like.

Eels - Eels Time!

Long-time followers of Eels will know by now that their records generally fall into one of two categories; there’s rock Eels, uptempo and boisterous, and gentle, contemplative Eels. The title of this fifteenth studio album, ‘Eels Time!’, suggests the former, but is actually much closer to the latter; in fact, it might be their softest-sounding in a decade, since 2014’s handsome, self-excoriating ‘The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett’. Frontman E goes easier on himself this time around, perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the record was made in the same year that he had life-saving open heart surgery. There are reflections on death, as you might expect, particularly the ghostly ‘We Won’t See Her Like Again’ and the softly anthemic ‘If I’m Gonna Go Anywhere’. 

If there’s a primary thematic throughline, though, it’s the maturity that comes with middle age and – more than anything else – love. E has mellowed considerably over the years – even one of the noisier tracks here, ‘Goldy’, is an ode to his goldfish – and it’s never more obvious than on simple, melodic love songs like ‘I Can’t Believe It’s True’ or ‘Song for You Know Who’, which wouldn’t be quite as moving without the context of it being the same guy who stared into the void on ‘Electro-Shock Blues’. ‘Eels Time!’ is arguably a touch one-track, and more casual fans may pine for the sonic diversity of ‘Souljacker’ . Those who love E at his most contemplative, though, will find plenty to like. 

Tags: Eels, Reviews, Album Reviews

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