It’s fair to say that the world has changed quite dramatically since Mark Oliver Everett and his Eels released The Deconstruction, all the way back in 2018. However, times may have changed but the band hasn’t, and they are back with their familiar, almost melancholic take on rock via their thirteenth studio album, Earth to Dora.
The album contains a dozen drowsy yet entertaining tracks which seek to send you into a deep, reflective, lucid dream; firstly about what life could have been like this year, and secondly about what the future holds.
The LP takes listeners on a voyage, from the elevating tones of ‘Anything for Boo’ and the easy-going ‘Are We Alright Again’, to the mellow and breathy melody that is ‘Of Unsent Letters’ and the empowering focus of ‘Waking Up’. It feels like you are embarking on a journey of emotional discovery, with every rise comes a fall in tone, yet, quite beautifully, this suits the distinctive mood, and is something only the Eels could achieve in what has been an unprecedented year.
The highlight of the album comes in the way of the title track, ‘Earth to Dora’. An uplifting and distinct ballad which takes the structure of a personal letter and transforms it into what can only be described as a musical masterpiece.
The theme of lost love and reflecting on the past is expressed most explicitly in the song, ‘The Gentle Souls’, through the lyrics, “I don’t know why she’s back for more” and “Now she belongs with the gentle souls”. Although the theme of lost love seems a tedious talking point in the indie-rock genre, the Eels provide a fresh take on the matter, adding to the optimistic message of the album about how life will get better – going some way to address the current concerns and issues facing fans this year.
Despite 2020 marking an impressive 25 years on from the band’s formation, the Eels show no sign of stopping here. The inspiring tone of the music collaborates perfectly with the somewhat calm and reassuring nature of the lyrics, and together they form the Eels’ way of giving listeners a big hug, which is quite simply what everybody needs at the moment.
On the whole, Earth to Dora proves the Eels still have enough room in their indie-rock tank to produce enjoyable music, and long may it continue.
Image: E Works Records