Eels – Royal Albert Hall
2015 – Eworks
Eels have had different sounds and personnel over the course of their career, an ever evolving cast around Mark Oliver Everett (E). This live concert documents one of my favorite permutations of the band, featuring a stripped down, melancholy sound; “sweet soft bummer rock” as E states during the show, live in London. They don’t jump out onto stage guns blazing, they build energy throughout the set and present a wonderful selection of their tunes. The band features five musicians jumping around between guitars, toy pianos, regular pianos, melodica, trumpet, and tons of other instruments including vibraphone!! Eels strength is in the songwriting and musicianship. The songs that are stripped down here have been recorded and performed in different styles, instrumentations, and settings; always sounding great, which to me is what defines great songwriting. I saw Eels live a few years ago in a electrified/rock setting and these songs worked perfectly. This album is definitely a late night album, a perfect mood setter after a long day to just relax. There is something comforting about E’s voice. I’m hard to please in the vocals department, but I’ve always loved his voice. On top of that, the musicians and arrangements are top notch. They are sparse at times, intricate at others, and always fitting for the music. The mixture of vibraphone, glockenspiel, toy piano, and melodica give the music an almost lullaby feel that, mixed with the vocals, confuse your senses (in a good way). This album is a monster, it has 3 full discs, that’s 6 sides of music! It is jam packed with greatness. If you haven’t listened to Eels before, this would be a good one to start with. It features a wide selection of material and I’m sure there is something here that you will latch onto. Eels are definitely one of the best bands out there right now. Listen and enjoy!