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Album Review

Eels, 'End Times'

January 18, 2010

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“In my younger days, this wouldn’t have been so hard,’’ EELS one-man show Mark Oliver Everett sings in his well-worn croak. It’s tough for us, too, Mark: On “End Times,’’ the multi-instrumentalist offers his usual dreary ruminations on love, loss, and loneliness, which feel only slightly more earned as the 46-year-old rocker has gradually come to settle into middle age. “The world is ending and what do I care?’’ Everett groans on the title track, a mopey break-up song that disappointingly has nothing to do with the apocalypse. (He recently went through a divorce.) The album was recorded on a 4-track in the singer’s basement, and the lo-fi treatment certainly suits his grizzly voice. In fact, the downtrodden lyrics on the yelping stomper “Paradise Blues’’ and the jangly “Gone Man’’ are more or less redeemed by the songs’ sparsely elegant arrangements. But for every transcendent melody (the tender “A Line in the Dirt’’), there’s a one-note downer like the self-pitying “I Need a Mother.’’ Released only six months after “Hombre Lobo,’’ “End Times’’ suggests that Everett may be going through the motions. At the very least, this is one guy who could use a hug. (Out tomorrow)

ADAM CONNER-SIMONS

Indie Rock
Eels End Times
Vagrant
ESSENTIAL “A Line in the Dirt’’