Eels - Tomorrow Morning

Album cover
Indie, Rock
E Works Records
Eels
Tomorrow Morning
Eels - Tomorrow Morning Review rating:
3.5
User rating:
Average: 4 (2 votes)

Mark Oliver Everett has always been an interesting man. Everett or better known by his moniker E, has lead the rock band Eels for over a decade, not to mention being the only concrete member and chief songwriter. E has for all intents and purposes built a career on sadness and dejected rebellion, with both his catalogues greatest peak (Electro-Shock Blues) and deepest decent (End Times) being almost bitterly heartbroken records. Not that any of his other albums have been particularly jovial either, but it was E’s ability to (usually) balance his distraught lyrical expulsion with fully realized arrangements and good’ol rock and roll that gave his music a genuine sense of absolution. No matter how broken E sounds (“Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor” is still a tear-jerker) he always brought the detours into distortion or morose string arrangements back to their alt-rock roots. With his ninth album Tomorrow Morning, and number two for 2010, E has followed up arguably his worst output with one of his better, an album that is a bit of an enigma for the Eels--Tomorrow Morning is quite a joyous record.

Pegged as the final installment to E’s concept trilogy beginning with last year’s undercooked Hombre Lobo, and continued with this years exhausting End Times. Each record revolving around a single theme: desire, loss and redemption respectively. While these forays into “concept” are essentially the three main emotions Eels have always toyed with, Morning projects an E who seems genuinely dumbfounded by how well things are going. Unlike Hombre and End Times where it felt like Everett was struggling to instill dejection and sorrow in his music, Tomorrow Morning presents an honest, happy-go-lucky E. Or at least as happy as he’ll ever be.

Overall Tomorrow Morning does not stray musically from the bass-heavy, distorted piano rock and rich string arrangements of the previous two records; akin more maybe to his mid-career albums Souljacker and Daisies Of The Galaxy. Morning however, is a much more pristine record, the production and (somewhat) lack for guitar buzz affords the album a nice mix between E’s general indifference for keeping everything clean and his perfectionist demeanor when it comes to his strings. Tomorrow Morning, for all its generalities, cheap tricks (“Oh So Lovely’s” nearly insufferable “yeah's!”) and lack of any real shift in sound, still presents a unique album for the Eels and furthermore the first time in a while that Everett has been this appealing as a musician.

While E may not have really changed that much since we saw him last (“Baby Loves Me” and “The Man” are the obligatory “everyone misunderstands me” and “I rule” songs for this outing), it doesn’t hamper the record's uplifting attributes. Yes this is an Eels album, yes E has slipped since Blinking Lights, and yes it is not as good as the watermarks he has set for himself previously--but that does not deter it from being a quality record. Ambient opener “In Gratitude For This Magnificent Day” coupled with follower “I’m A Humming Bird” are easily two of the Eels best tracks along with the bombastic IDM influenced  “This Is Where It Gets Good,” are the album’s finest moments. “What I Have To Offer” and “That’s Not Her Way” are delicate ballads, presenting E at his most vulnerable in ages. Forget all the misanthropic and heavy-handed emotional baggage found on the rest of this trilogy, the final, happier record is the most honest of them all.

“I like the way this is going.” Everett states on the back-ender of the same name, a song dedicated to all the little things that make martial life worth it, is not only a pleasing sentiment in its own right; but more so feels like an overall aesthetic for the album. E beyond simply just being happier, is actually enjoying his craft again and you can hear it. While it may have taken about five years and two other albums full of “conceptual” schlock to get here by the time you hit Tomorrow Morning's vibrant closer “Mystery Of Life,” it no longer matters. Mark Oliver Everett has returned, in the fullest sense, but this time thankfully, he remembers to bring enough quality work with him so as to prompt subsequent invites. Hell he’ll probably be on the guest list this time. How things have changed.

1. In Gratitude For This Magnificent Day
2. I'm a Hummingbird
3. The Morning
4. Baby Loves Me
5. Spectacular Girl
6. What I Have To Offer
7. This Is Where It Gets Good
8. After The Earthquake
9. Oh So Lovely
10. The Man
11. Looking Up
12. That's Not Her Way
13. I Like The Way This Is Going
14. The Meaning Of Life

Eels is an American alternative/acoustic indie rock band formed by singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett, better known as "Mr. E" or simply E. Born in 1963, he grew up experimenting with music in the Washington D.C. suburbs and later moved to Los Angeles, California, United States emerging as the frontman of a band, calling Eels a vessel for his music. Other members rotate frequently, both in the studio and on stage. Their live shows include interesting interpretations of older songs, and usually some well-known covers.

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