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Josh T. Landow

CD of The Week

Week of 11/02/20

    Eels - Earth to Dora (PIAS)

    E, a.k.a. Mark Oliver Everett, has just released his 13th album of melancholic indie rock under the moniker of Eels entitled Earth To Dora. Over the course of this baker's dozen of albums, he has proven to be a master storyteller who plunges the deep and dark corners of his soul to put all the skeletons in his closet on full display. This latest effort finds E in the throes of a tumultuous relationship, as he wrestles with his second divorce. At points, we hear glimmers of hope and contentment, and at others, sheer self-destruction. Ironically, most of the songs were written pre-COVID, which makes the sunnier songs sound even better.

    The instrumentation of Earth To Dora is more organic than his last opus, 2018's The Deconstruction, and E handles most of the production and musical elements on his own, with some help from his usual cast of characters Koool G MurderThe ChetKnuckles, and P-Boo. There is a pretty straightforward happy-sad-happy arc to the song lineup, starting with "Anything For Boo" which is as endearingly cheesy as it sounds. It leads into "Are We Alright Again?" acknowledging "birds and bees jamming." By the middle of the album, E's over it and bluntly asks "Are You F***ing Your Ex?," resolving himself to the answer he already knows. On "I Got Hurt" the self-loathing really settles in. Finally, things are looking up again on lead single "Baby, Let's Make It Real."

    The cover art is taken from a thrift store painting that hung in E's bathroom for the past decade. The sad clown metaphor is fairly obvious. Aside from his seemingly dour persona, he is known to be quite funny and lively, especially on stage. Here's hoping that one day, live music will return, as Eels love touring and are a joy to watch. Overall, Earth To Dora is a lovely, nostalgic trip that meets expectations and we can all take comfort knowing that this sad clown will not retire any time soon. He still has many stories to tell.
    Review by Dave Lindquist

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