Eels
End Times


4.0
excellent

Review

by robin EMERITUS
January 14th, 2010 | 57 replies | 10,922 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: E grows… his beard.

When Hombre Lobo finally surfaced after four long years - and E actually had the nerve to name a song “The Longing” - the hair did the talking. Eels’ frizzy frontman went on about that fairytale concept he had involving his wolfish, by-night double - not all that later, it came to eager listeners that maybe he was writing out of duty to his beard - given the scale and layering of the thing (and the amount of fur it probably contained) their theory isn’t easy to write off. That album – number seven – came out a prowl through a stalker’s loneliness. Concerned with love lost, January’s End Times is E facing the fact he might be getting old, and in much gentler terms than six months ago. E’s facial chops may not have fallen off just yet, but they’re definitely greying.

Forgive me, but with E it’s more a matter of concept than music: he hasn’t mixed up his sound anymore than he had last time he checked out of studio album world, but what really does appeal from picking at End Times is that it could basically go into a double-package with Hombre Lobo. We’ve got a fake double-album - a second Blinking Lights & Other Revelations – on our hands, only wiser still.

To delve further, E’s history needs some examining. I would say I’ve seen every E album as a confession straight from his sophomore effort Electro-Shock Blues, the first album to really note down the monologue of his life as intensified by loss and tragedy. Where we left him in 2005 however, he seemed done with autobiography, having essentially locked himself in a basement (with the occasional Tom Waits or Peter Buck sashaying in and out) and composed the most personal seventy-minute epic ever. Now, with the second of two albums united in their topic of romance, End Times seems to render all that cleansing irrelevant, and E has new topics built in broken relationships and age – both merged casually and simply, and said as plainly as ever: “In my younger days/This wouldn’t have been so hard”.

Bar the documenting lyrical themes, E is fulfilling a retread of everything he has put out. It may be his most clinical yet. The ballads particularly feel like the final touches in a scheme far more longwinded; fourteen or more years in the making, the exercise has come along tenfold since their early sketches were founded over years of ‘rare’ solo records. It would be easy to say that the mandatory piano hymn “A Line In The Dirt” has existed twenty odd times already on Eels’ records were it not sounding so effortless: the drums pass by with the faintest brush upon the song, as does the modest horn section. At worst, it’s an underwhelming first listen – only sounding as boxed as it does because of how incredibly every little transition is made, as if E has finally championed his own little world of pop and confession. Pretty much everywhere else, songs sit in their varying skins - and just as seamlessly; want a retrospective taste of everything E has ever, ever done?* It’s all here, from the type-two balladry (reverberating guitars in the dark on “In My Younger Days”, or lighter still by acoustic methods on “Nowadays”) to the band’s standard slice of black comedy in the jingly “End Times”, which has our anti-hero typically bitter with finding himself upbeat.

It’s hard not to love the trick pulled with End Times simply because there needs be neither a crowning track nor an examination of the album as a collective whole. E himself calls this album quite sharply “the after” where it’s older (but eviler) brother is “the spark that ignites all” - and to me while End Times may not be the best telling of his talent, he has succeeded in crafting the double album that isn’t – yes, you can listen to it alone (at the very least to see just how back-of-hand E finds things), but its great secret is that it has a timeline that isn’t restricted to 2010. It's better off with 2009 by its side.

*If you dislike Eels, please do not respond ironically.



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user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
January 14th 2010



19743 Comments


This struck me as one of E's weaker albums- but that was only one listen sooooo...

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

robin
Emeritus
January 14th 2010



4241 Comments


had the same feeling, but he very much always wins me over.

Kiran
Emeritus
January 14th 2010



6000 Comments


this is one of those bands i hear so much about but still have no idea what they actually sound like

i should check this band out some day

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Phantom
January 14th 2010



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Want to hear this, will do soon.

Good review as well

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2010



15727 Comments


you should review more often, knawmsayin?

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

robin
Emeritus
January 14th 2010



4241 Comments


kirg im almost certain youd enjoy eels on any record, even though electro shock blues is his masterpiece and whatnot. but hey, it's 2010. : )

and ec, would get back to reviewing more often but for supposedly preparing for exams and stuff. which i inevitably never do because im commenting on sputnik all the time.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
January 14th 2010



862 Comments


excellent review dude. fuck exams, keep writing.

getting this.

robin
Emeritus
January 14th 2010



4241 Comments


i shall listen to your logic.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2010



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh yeah!

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

robin
Emeritus
January 14th 2010



4241 Comments


what are you thinking klappy

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2010



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

havent listened to it yet but i like the review

robin
Emeritus
January 14th 2010



4241 Comments


i assume you are an eels fan tbh, rudy [of supertramp]. but yeah either way get this, seems up your street to some extent

PuddlesPuddles
January 14th 2010



4767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I totally saw either you or rudy waiting desperately for the stream to post a review as great as this

nice job

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2010



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i haven't written any reviews in a while trying to get back on the horse after this epic weekend

AggravatedYeti
January 14th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Stream time!

AggravatedYeti
January 14th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

also Rudy -- drink your face off.

robin
Emeritus
January 15th 2010



4241 Comments


puddles, i was checking daily. :p

AggravatedYeti
January 15th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is pretty good, standard Eels affair, seems like the 2nd half to the 'Hombre' recording sessions. That album, more fiery, direct, this one being a bit more subdued -- but both records rooted in lo-fi & blues, and essentially seem to be written about the same girl.

robin
Emeritus
January 15th 2010



4241 Comments


i agree with the 2nd half assessment, obviously - just as long as you dont call it b-sides, haha.

AggravatedYeti
January 15th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

haha no.
Wouldn't it be E-Sides anyways?



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