Eels // The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Eels returns to more somber territory.
The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
After the bouncy optimism of Wonderful, Glorious, Eels return to more somber territory on The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. Appropriately, the new album finds bandleader Mark Oliver Everett eschewing the joyful bounce of past songs like "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" for a more subtle, introspective approach, leaving the alternative veteran to examine his past and the regret of leaving someone you cared for. Cautionary Tales's restrained, solemn approach recalls albums like Beck's Sea Change, an LP that embraces sparse compositions to emphasize the weight of the singer's worried words. Everett's cracking vocals take center stage on the album, providing a weight to the gentle swaths of strings and strummed guitars of "Agatha Chang" and the precisely-picked "Swallow in the Sun." Cautionary Tales missteps when it takes a turn for the sinister on "Series of Misunderstandings" and "Dead Reckoning," but Everett's introspective study makes for a quiet, meditative listen. — Alex Bieler