EELS – The Destruction (Album Review)

EELS – The Destruction (Album Review)

The beautiful freaks are back, and they are ready again to wreak destruction! With their new batch of songs, Singer/Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett and his band EELS are ready to destroy your boredom as well as low expectation of today’s music and reconstruct your sense of awe and belief that there is simply great music to be had from any given time. Just have the initiative to find what you are looking for and not wait for it to just drop in front of you.

Formed in 1995, in Los Feliz, California, United States, EELS has released eleven studio albums—from 1996’s Beautiful Freak to 2014’s The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. Seven of this discography charted in the Billboard 200, and the latest installment is forthcoming.

Slated for release on April 6, 2018, on EWorks/PIAS Records, EELS’ 12th studio album opens with the Baroque Pop–styled title track, which is then followed by “Bone Dry” in the same heartbeat. These mood openers might remind the initiated of similar breezy excursions by Rialto (“Monday Morning 5:19”) and The Divine Comedy (“Becoming More like Alfie”).

After the short soundcheck instrumental “Quandary,” EELS resumes with the sentimental folky guitar-led Orchestral Pop ballad “Premonition.” The orchestrated adventure continues as “Rusty Pipes” flows smoothly, picking up the album’s overall sophisticated sound. The vibes slow further down towards the sparse and churchy feel of “The Epiphany.”

EELS then surprises the listener and wakes him up from his daydreams with a sudden change of pace; the cheery, angular, infectious, and sunny Indie Pop stomp of “Today Is the Day” does just that. Everett then turns starry-eyed romantic as he croons the string-glazed Traditional Pop–stylized ballad “Sweet Scorched Earth.” After another short instrumental interlude, EELS comes back with the bluesy “Be Hurt” – so bluesy and a bit nostalgic that the listener might conjure in his mind an image of a bespectacled, acoustic guitar–wielding Eric Clapton getting ready to dish out a somber rendition of “Wonderful Tonight” or “Tears in Heaven.”

The slightly raspy and loose “You Are the Shining Light,” which exudes faint echoes of Edwyn Collins’ “Girl like You,” returns the listener to upbeat land; only to serenade him again with a couple of introspective piano ballads, such as “There I Said It” and the ditty “Archie, Goodnight.”

The little birds chirp once again as they usher in the grand, anthemic, welcome fanfare of “The Unanswerable.” Finally, The Destruction concludes with another heartwarming, Gospel-inspired track, “In Our Cathedral,” which serves as its pristine adornment of white ribbons and laces and fresh flowers and familiar faces.

The American band has slinked its way from the fringes to the center of the Alternative/Indie Rock scene prolifically and enduringly – 12 albums in 23 years – almost quarter of a century of beautiful, quirky, and well-crafted music. The Deconstruction is another chapter added by Everett and his ever-dependable entourage – Koool G Murder (bass), P-Boo (guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums), and The Deconstruction Orchestra & Choir – to the elongating discography of EELS. That is why CrypticRock gives The Destruction 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase The Destruction:

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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