Blinking Lights and Other Revelations
Kids of all ages: this pure listening pleasure is brought to you by the letter E. That’s E for Everett, as in Mark Oliver Everett. He produces some of the leading indie-pop today. If you think, “oh Eels, right, aren’t they the band that sounds exactly like Beck?” you have to put that out of your mind. Make room for these two discs worth of gorgeous melodies, emotionally evocative music and straight-up, intelligent lyrics. In short, way the hell more than Beck pulls off with his messy musical pastiche. Eels doesn’t run off madly in all directions like the admittedly much more popular Beck. Over several albums now, Eels has followed a clear, unique path in pursuit of some better understanding about life — in all its categories and sub-categories of emotions and reactions, hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties. As a songwriter, E distills complex experiences into simple, direct songs. This album feels like a major junction on a life’s trek. The songs are, as before, stories: it’s easy to picture E ambling along, dealing with the big and small things, observing and being observed, loving and leaving (and being left), in Los Angeles. There are no balls-out rocking guitars like the last two records (Shootenanny and Souljacker) and that will disappoint some ardent fans and listeners who caught on with the last couple albums. But you’ll find the lack of six strings a minor absence at best. The crazy rec-room organ, strings, horns and peppy drumming are all you need to feel a beautiful revelation: It’s the first day of spring after a brutal winter and you realize you have about two less layers of clothes and lethargy wrapped around you.