12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mark Oliver Everett, a.k.a. E, a.k.a. Eels, is one dark pop tunesmith. On the surface, there is a familiar accessibility to his melodies and a professional and assured shine to his musical arrangements. However, much like a David Lynch movie, where normalcy only serves to dramatically shade the darkness, Everett’s music is the sound of a solitary man battling his personal demons and impulses in broad daylight. “Novocaine for the Soul,” “My Beloved Monster,” “Beautiful Freak,” “Mental,” and “Your Lucky Day in Hell” should clearly warn onlookers that the trip through the Tunnel of Love is likely to be a horror show, yet Everett’s demure vocals and gently coaxing keyboard lines suggest a well-insulated life and not a bare-knuckled fight to the finish. Yet that’s what’s happening between the ancient keyboard tones, music box touches and the heavily manipulated vocal effects where he sounds like he’s transmitting from another galaxy. In another’s hands a track like “Manchild” might be a tearjerker, a plea for sympathy, but here it’s an admission of guilt and a defiant refusal to ever grow up.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mark Oliver Everett, a.k.a. E, a.k.a. Eels, is one dark pop tunesmith. On the surface, there is a familiar accessibility to his melodies and a professional and assured shine to his musical arrangements. However, much like a David Lynch movie, where normalcy only serves to dramatically shade the darkness, Everett’s music is the sound of a solitary man battling his personal demons and impulses in broad daylight. “Novocaine for the Soul,” “My Beloved Monster,” “Beautiful Freak,” “Mental,” and “Your Lucky Day in Hell” should clearly warn onlookers that the trip through the Tunnel of Love is likely to be a horror show, yet Everett’s demure vocals and gently coaxing keyboard lines suggest a well-insulated life and not a bare-knuckled fight to the finish. Yet that’s what’s happening between the ancient keyboard tones, music box touches and the heavily manipulated vocal effects where he sounds like he’s transmitting from another galaxy. In another’s hands a track like “Manchild” might be a tearjerker, a plea for sympathy, but here it’s an admission of guilt and a defiant refusal to ever grow up.

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