Eels: Nothing Easy 'bout being E
His vessel for disseminating this rich tapestry of keen-eyed observation and musical majesty is Eels
This modern world we live in is a mixed up, crazy kind of place and even more so if your sphere of influence happens to be one of the myriad small backwater towns of the United States.
Yet the strange forces at work in these environments have given rise to some extraordinary talents in the world of music. Mark Oliver Everett, or E for short, is one such talent who has been blessed with a slightly skewed way of looking at the world - and he possesses the song-writing artistry to deliver it back to us in lyrics and melodies that highlight the idiosyncrasies of our surroundings. His vessel for disseminating this rich tapestry of keen-eyed observation and musical majesty is Eels, a constantly evolving line up of musicians that breathes life into E's grand plan.
Eels' biggest hits to date, Novocaine for the Soul and Susan's House, will be familiar to most, as will the distinctive goggle-eyed girl from the cover of 'Beautiful Freak' - the album from which they came. Indeed many of you may recall a fabulous Top of the Pops performance involving a sandwich concealing piano and other tiny instruments that were destroyed in suitably rock'n'roll fashion at the end of the song. A torrent of critical acclaim greeted 'Beautiful Freak' upon release and Eels seemed to have cemented a place in the forefront of the alternative scene. The chart success soon faded but the critics have never lost faith and neither have Eels' cult following.
In the years immediately following those halcyon days of top forty success, E's focus shifted from the world around him to the troubling and stressful events of his own life, such as the death of his parents and his sister's suicide. This produced the intensely personal 'Electro Shock Blues' and its equally moving follow up 'Daisies of the Galaxy'. More recently, E has been as productive as ever, touring with feverish dedication and producing several further albums with a variety of themes and settings.
There is certainly an air of eccentric unpredictability about E and his band, but the ease with which he cuts through the mangled mess of modern life in songs of such thoughtful beauty demands that we find space in our hearts to love him just as he is; and that's certainly not a hard thing to do.
Eels play ABC, Glasgow on June 26http://www.eelstheband.com