The Eels — The End Times
By Tyson Lynn
Mark Oliver Everett—Mr. E, the only constant member of The Eels—is, to put it lightly, an unlucky man. Slightly stooped, a rag doll of dark matter, Everett has always been up front in his music about the unfortunate events that punctuate his life with end stops: his sister’s suicide, his mother’s death, and now, on his newest End Times, the dissolution of his marriage.
Recorded to four-track, but keeping none of that format’s endearing qualities, End Times documents moments bleak and black, with almost none of the orchestral lift that marked his previous releases. To jump from 2005’s Blinking Lights and Other Revelations down into the End Times is to fall out of the sky like a hopeless Icarus. Songs circle on themselves without resolution, or never really begin. Only a couple of tracks—“A line in the dirt” most prominently—dig themselves out of the e-hole long enough to look lively, but even their stately builds have airs of resignation around them, pigpens of defeat.
This isn’t an album that bears repeating, because the way it embodies its heavy subject matter becomes too much to shoulder by the end. It is dense and offers no solutions, and in that, it truly reflects the end times. – (6/10)