Earth To Dora
LP | 2LP | CD | DL
Out 30th October 2020
Mark Everett, a.k.a. E, returns with Eels’ 13th studio album, Earth To Dora, and mines the twinkling epheral music box style to great effect.
A new album from Eels is always met with the same questioning expectations. What route will E and his cohorts take? Will he drop in the weird indie pop of their breakthough album, Beautiful Freak? Will he ramp up the fuzz-dipped garage kick of Souljacker? Or will he take us wandering down a star-lit forest path full of serenading creatures of the twilight? On new album, Earth To Dora, the latter is definitely his chosen path.
Unlucky 13? Not likely, as the album is full of songs that conjure a feeling of internal hope. Their soft winding melodies creep inside you as E’s voice soothes and croons. The song ‘OK’ sums up the sensation with its opening lyrics. “I got hurt. So what. That’s just the way it goes. Sometimes that’s what a day’ll do to you.” It’s an acceptance that we have to stand resilient against the tides that wash over us and attempt to drown us. If we lie down and let them engulf us, that’s exactly what will happen. But, if we are able to stand against the rolling waters, that is when we will see the moon rise and the light come through. “I know I’m OK.” Set to a downbeat twinkling melody, subtle plaintive horns coming through in the break, it’s a song that makes you want to close your eyes and drift away on the Good Ship Esperanza.
In honing this style more and more, Eels at times come close to the ghostly sounds of Mercury Rev. It’s exactly what we hear on Of Unsent Letters, one of the standout tracks on the album. He’s at his most Beautiful Freak on Are We Alright Again, skirting close to that Susan’s House vibe in the verses. When the beat kicks in it bounces in the way that will put a spring in your step as you step out. Are You Fucking Your Ex sits back on an easy groove and is one of the few songs that still pangs with a touch of self-degradation, but also pokes outwards at the idea that perhaps we have at our fingertips too much contact, too much personal details of all those around us. “I get it, everyone likes sex, but I don’t need to know.” Knowing, as we do, much that Everett has been through in his life and how he has at many times openly poured his pain into his work, this sentiment flips it on its head somewhat. Maybe sometimes we should keep the personal as just that.
On Earth To Dora, Eels have returned with a wonderfully optimistic album that rallies you from within. It’s pure indie-pop with their usual lyrical twists and turns. A great return for the band.
Listen to Are We Alright Again below:
Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.