Album: Eels, End Times Vagrant

4.00

Pity poor Mark "E" Everett: beleaguered by a family background pock-marked with mad genius, suicide and cancer, he's no sooner finally come to terms with turbulent desire in last year's Hombre Loco than he's left shattered by break-up, contemplating End Times.

This, then, is E's Blood on the Tracks, his response to the devastation of a collapsed relationship; except that rather than viewed through the refracting mirrors of metaphor and allusion, he can't help projecting his own grief upon existence in general. When, in the title-track, he encounters a doom-mongering vagrant proclaiming the end of the world, in his emotional distress he can't help but see his personal sense of loss as equivalent to, or indicative of, the diminishing integrity of the world as a whole. Before long he's shunning humankind, reduced to sharing lonely solace with a "Little Bird", and cursing the insincerity and bitterness to which society is becoming increasingly reduced: "Trouble is a friend of mine I'd like to leave behind," he notes abjectly. "I'd like my friends more refined."

It all starts out so well. "Everything was beautiful and free in the beginning", he coos over the delicate guitar and organ haze of "The Beginning", recalling the blissful cocoon of new love that has since cracked apart. But the first blast of disaster comes in "Gone Man", an R&B shuffle with maraccas like some early Stones single, and just as feckless an attitude: "I never thought that I should quit/ All this stupid crazy shit/ That I do as a means of keeping things away". Before long, bravado leads him into his biggest mistake, recounted in hapless falsetto over lonely piano: "I drew a line in the dirt and dared her to step across it – and she did".

What follows is a detailed tableau of recrimination, remorse, spite and self-pity, sometimes evoked without recourse to words – as in "High and Lonesome", a bleak found-sound fragment of thunder, rain, footsteps, traffic and distant tolling bell that's like a modern-day representation of Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard". Everett retreats to the inner citadel of stoicism, despite struggling to sustain his composure – "I'm not yet resigned to fate, and I'm not gonna be ruled by hate/ But it's strong, and it's filling up my days" – and even acknowledging, in a moment of pitiable pathos, "I Need a Mother", before coming through to the other end of the long tunnel of dejection, "pretty sure I've been through worse, and I'm sure I can take the hit". As ever with Eels, it's a hard road to follow, albeit one subtly surfaced with arrangements comprised of guitar or keyboards adorned with occasional tender, lilting hints of cello, flugelhorn and ambient sounds.

Download this: The Beginning; Gone Man; Nowadays; Little Bird; On My Feet

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum