Eels, 'End Times' (E Works/Vagrant)

Critical Mass
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by Barry Walters

Because every Eels disc feels like a breakup album, this overt and actual one may at first seem redundant, or worse: Mark Everett recorded it raw onto a four-track, overdubbing his multi-instrumental ache and rasping as if a lead weight hangs from his soul. But this also may be his most universal work, and it's heartfelt and true: Seeing clearly through teary eyes, Everett draws parallels between his own dysfunction and the world's. Tired of playing daddy, he wants a mother but ends up crooning to a little hopping bird.

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