DreamWorks - 2005 - 90 minutes
Mark 'E' Everett's latest opus has an air of finality about it. Or perhaps that should be an air of climax. After rocking out with Eels' debut, 'Beautiful Freak', he then retreated into the misery of 'Electro-Shock Blues' following the tragic suicide of his sister and death of his mother.
'Blinking Lights and Other Revelations' has more in common with the plaintive refrains of 'Electro-Shock Blues' than the sweet, hard-rocking rage of 'Souljacker' or 'Shootenanny!', but instead of an intimate little set of songs, E has chosen the widescreen canvas of a double album.
Naturally, this two-disc behemoth suffers from the occasional longuers. But the lightness and brevity of many of the tracks prevent the album from feeling too much like an indulgent sprawl.
Some of the songs are so slight they are in danger of floating away, but E's essential musicianship shines though in the form of arrangements that are sometimes delicate, sometimes stirringly thunderous.
The album changes tone on the odd occasion when E steps away from his faux-naïve takes on modern dysfunction. 'Goin' Fetal' is a bang-along pastiche of 1960s dance crazes, while 'Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)' is as wide-eyed and upbeat as the rest of the album is traumatised and sad.
But E is most at home crafting these poignant little missives that express his childlike inner voice. For many, it's all too much, the Beck-a-like voice, the overly lush instrumentation, the simplistic lyrics. For me, E captures barely coherent grief in a bottle, and turns it into something beautiful.
Tracklisting CD1: Theme from Blinking Lights - From Which I Came/A Magic World - Son of a Bitch - Blinking Lights (For Me) - Trouble With Dreams - Marie Floating over the Backyard - Suicide Life - In the Yard, Behind the Church - Railroad Man - The Other Shoe - Last Time We Spoke - Mother Mary - Going Fetal - Understanding Salesmen - Theme for A Pretty Girl That Makes You Believe God Exists - Checkout Blues - Blinking Lights (For You)
Tracklisting CD2: Dust of Ages - Old Shit/ New Shit - Bride of Theme From Blinking Lights - Hey Man (Now You're Really Living) - I'm Going to Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart - To Lick Your Boots - If You See Natalie - Sweet Li'l Thing - Dusk: A Peach in the Orchard - Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb - Ugly Love - God's Silence - Losing Streak - Last Days Of My Bitter Heart - The Stars Shine In The Sky Tonight - Things the Grandchildren