Review Summary: A necessary album for the continuation of Eels, however a step back in excitement.
There haven’t been many untruthful moments within the music of E. Considering how much went wrong in his life, forcing him into the unwanted knowledge that he was becoming one of the only members within his family, he didn’t push through insignificant music of happiness with Electro-Shock Blues
. Neither did he shy away, and refuse to make music. Instead, a lot of his pieces lyrically were transformed into his feelings on the events occurring in his life. Tragedies were turned into albums that essentially told stories. There was honesty within his music, creating some excellent music.
Daisies Of the Galaxy
is certainly believed to be the more upbeat of his works, especially the previous albums. On the surface, evidently it seems a lot more cheery – the cover art suggests a more welcoming change in the music, though the expectations still run high to give the artist’s signature feel to the work. The album generally completes this task well, with the vocals imminent with undertones of Beautiful Freak
. In places, E squeals as he would have on “Novocaine for the Soul”; this high note sustained in a completely different atmosphere – a less angry, yet somehow similar situation. This can be seen within the piano orientated piece “Jeannie’s Diary” - a song that tributes older albums with its longing, saddening theme.
Similarities, though still evident, are pushed into dealing with different issues, which is a hard to adapt to in some places. Songs can seep into obscurity and get confused with others. “I Like Birds”, though one of the most accessible songs on the album, can appear too similar to others that accompany it. “Packing Blankets” introduction is possibly too easy to mistake with it, and many songs appear to be clones of others, slightly altered. This does not serve the album well, as though maintaining an overall sound is of importance here, it is far too easy for the album to come across as repetitive.
However, that’s not to be said the album doesn’t have tracks that stand out with no replicas – “A Daisy Through Concrete” is bursting with playful energy that captures what the album is about; a struggle, but an optimistic outlook. The lyrics, equally joyous (”The sun beats down/No shoes on my feet/And I stumble on a daisy through concrete”
) are a showcase of the hope involved within the album. “Flyswatter” also strays away from the self-consciousness of the album, with a more creeping, defining rhythm.
One thing lacked throughout Daisies Of The Galaxy
is the previous ‘angry’ attitudes of the last two albums, and the in-your-face antics seen therein. Beautiful Freak
contained “Not Ready Yet”, amongst many others, and Electro-Shock Blues
also had its moments where calm was thrown out of the window. Here, however, there is a more accepting E, even “It’s A Mother***er”, one of the most reflecting songs from the record, is a collected piano ballad. There is no screaming, or scratching of the lungs here, the closest attempt being “A Daisy Through Concrete”, which in itself still remains fundamentally a harmless, easy listen. The variety of emotions is halted due to the overall recognition of events - thus making the album suffer.
Of course, to say the album was upbeat would be a misconception. It is only by Eel’s standards so, and hosts bleaker songs, such as the title track, to remind us of the haunting ways we have learnt to acknowledge from the band (á la “Susan’s House, for instance).
Daisies Of The Galaxy
faced a difficult task of taking previous efforts further, despite the success of both, either critically or musically. The album is a disappointment in that it is bland – less exciting than former compositions. It is, however, a step forward in what the band’s music would eventually progress into with albums to come – this album a definite reference for the direction taken.