The Eels are back. Mark Oliver Everett (otherwise known as the man called E) has returned with his 11th Eels release, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. T
he 13-track album finds E on well-established ground. Most songs feature refined, low-key arrangements that accentuate lyrics about break-ups, the search for answers, weathering emotional setbacks and other typically personal narratives.
On quietly contemplative “Agatha Chang” (the initial single), E muses how cruelty sank his expectations for a relationship.
A mordant mannerism shimmers through wavering “Gentlemen’s Choice,” where Everett mulls over his imperfect decisions. This theme also peppers the faintly hopeful “Parallels,” which alludes to a documentary about E and his physicist father.
A filmic quality permeates the bleakest cut, “Dead Reckoning,” where a distant storm, strings and woodwinds underscore E’s worn voice.
All isn’t woe, though. Nostalgic optimism seasons jaunty “Where I’m From.”
The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett is best experienced by knowledgeable fans acquainted with E’s often desolate demeanor. This material may be too dismally austere for newbies.
The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett releases Tuesday, April 22, 2014.