Eels – The Deconstruction review: More of the same

Fri, Apr 6, 2018, 05:00

   
 

Album:
The Deconstruction

Artist:
Eels

Label:
E Works/[PIAS]

Genre:
Alternative

For more than two decades, Mark Oliver Everett (aka E) has been deconstructing his own psyche. So it was with a look of pure stupefaction etched across my features that I first considered the opening lyric on Eels album No 12: “The deconstruction has begun,” sings Everett in his distinctive cigars-dipped-in-whiskey vocal style.

In reality the indie star’s autobiographical details and self-reflections have dominated his vast oeuvre.

Much of the record occupies realms that Everett has long occupied. Rusty Pipes, for example, probes death and the looming reality of our own mortality. Everett has penned some cutting meditation on loss and grief in the past, but returning to the topics here feels tired and the writing lacks the weight of his best work (see 1998’s Electro-Shock Blues).

Meanwhile, the minimalist arrangements do little to lift the songwriting. The sweetly packaged nihilism of love song Sweet Scorched Earth could have been interesting but the instrumentation rests on whispering electric guitar plucks that make no impression whatsoever.

“The world is a mess,” Everett writes in the press notes, hinting at the possibility that he might turn his attention to broader issues than he has in the past. But this is another typical Eels record to add to the stack. The Deconstruction is as well-worn as the dead grass on a makeshift path.