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Eels - Earth to Dora (Album Review)

Wednesday, 04 November 2020 Written by Rebecca Llewellyn

Photo: Gus Black

On first listen you could be forgiven for believing that Eels’ 13th studio album,  ‘Earth to Dora’, solely portrays a decaying relationship. But that’s just a quirk of sequencing, designed to pull personal experience, second hand stories and fiction under the spell of Mark Oliver Everett.

Wrapped within the bruising, tender vocals of the band’s infamously melancholic leader, the lovelorn notions of indie-psych opener Anything For Boo meet pangs of infidelity on the brooding Dark and Dramatic. Everett’s performance is enchanting, with a sense of enlightenment coded into the record from start to finish.

Known for being an unflinchingly truthful and frank songwriter, Everett documents the minutiae of our lives and his music continues to exist at a crossroads between misery, madness, and uplifting craft. This cocktail has allowed him to become a relatable figure while remaining mysteriously reclusive.

‘Earth to Dora’ provides a soft, pleasant listening experience, but there is vocal grit to ponder and Everett pries at the world with gentle insistence in that classic Eels style. The record touches upon tragedy, but exists as a glowing beacon of transience and catharsis.

By combining poignant past experiences, and thoughts on his current surroundings, Everett picks us up and dusts us off. He chimes on OK: “I don't know what anything means anymore and I don't know anything for sure, but I know it's another day, and I'm OK.” It’s a mesmerising note of survival and change.

Closing the album with acoustic outpouring Waking Up, we hear Eels stripped bare. Cradled in a delicate cocoon of sound, it allows for a final moment of reflection  while Everett ponders: “Why don’t you just take my hand, and take a chance on love? The day is here, and I won’t blow it, I am waking up.”

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