Eels

TrackAlbum
Climbing To The MoonElectro-Shock Blues
What’'s A Fella Gotta DoHombre Lobo
Kinda FuzzyWonderful, Glorious
FlyswatterDaisies Of The Galaxy
Fresh FeelingSouljacker
Trouble With DreamsBlinking Lights and Other Revelations
Your Lucky Day In HellBeautiful Freak
That Look You Give That GuyHombre Lobo
A Line In The DirtEnd Times
That’'s Not Her WayTomorrow Morning

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Contributor: Glenn Smith

Welcome to the strange, and sometimes very sad, world of Mark Everett, otherwise known as Eels or just simply E. A great songwriter and musician, the death and craziness that surrounds him is well documented but it is worth summarising before we move into the list of some of his finer musical moments.

He grew up in Virginia with an academic dad, the type who would sit beside the pool wearing a shirt and tie and smoking a pipe; a physicist who argued for an alternative universe, he died relatively young of a heart attack and was found by, you guessed it, E. His sister suffered from serious mental illness and killed herself just when E was making some noise in the musical world. His mother then died of cancer, and then his airline steward cousin died when the 9/11 plane crashed into the Pentagon, close to where his father once had an office.

So he has a lot to write about. And across a quite prolific career he explores all the themes we love in good pop songs: love, loss, loneliness, mad relationships, bad relationships and good ones gone wrong. The hauntingly beautiful Climbing To The Moon gives voice to his sister’s illness through a superb melody, easily one of the best attempts to understand the sadness and confusion of mental illness and institutionalisation. What’s A Fella Gotta Do introduces his ability to write great driving tunes, usually about desire and unrequited love. E started his musical journey as a drummer and a lot of his songwriting shows that influence; Kinda Fuzzy shows off his ability to hit a groove.

His ability as a multi-instrumentalist greatly affects his sound; there are lots of different instruments being used at all times, always sustained by a drummer driven groove. Flyswatter, Fresh Feeling and Trouble With Dreams are all great examples of his ability to mix up the sounds to enhance the mood. And that mood can be very dark; he’s got some dark corners to explore and he pushes into them with Your Lucky Day In Hell.

The last three tunes on our list showcase his ability to write a great love song. His memoir, Things The Grandchildren Should Know (he is at this point childless) describes his marriage to a Russian dentist he met at a castle in Europe where he was plied with vitamin C by a new age German doctor. Says it all really, and his songs of love and loss reflect the craziness that seems to surround E’s matters of the heart. That Look You Give That Guy, A Line In The Dirt and That’s Not Her Way are three songs about love and desire.

If you get into Eels as a result of this toppermost, there is a brand new album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, you can check out the film about him and his dad, Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives and read his “memoir” where you can enjoy insights such as the following: “Kids know what’s going on. They always respond to The Beatles, for instance … Show me a kid who innately doesn’t like The Beatles and I’ll show you a bad seed.”

 

Eels Official Band Website

Eels biography (iTunes)

Released this month, read the Drowned in Sound review of the 11th Eels studio album, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett here.

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