Albums: Mark Eitzel

<preform>The Invisible Man, </br>Matador</preform>
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The Independent Culture

Doubting eyebrows have been raised at Mark Eitzel's claim that he's seeking to project a sunnier disposition in his work ­ and with good reason, judging by The Invisible Man. The main plank in his argument is the single "It Is Important Throughout Your Life to Proclaim Your Joy" (a course of action notably absent in Eitzel's previous work), and certainly, were the song indicative of the general mood of the album, it would mark a shocking volte-face in his creative attitude. But stuck as a lone outburst of reluctant optimism at the end of a string of typically melancholic Eitzel epistles, its pathos just seems mordantly sardonic ­ more gallows humour than anything truly positive. The rest of the album follows the course signalled by titles such as "Bitterness", "Without You", "Anything" and the Morrissey-esque "Steve I Always Knew", with spare but telling piano chords and the occasional tint of vibes or strings colouring Eitzel's rolling, mantra-like invocations of lines such as "I lose myself in disbelief and mistrust without you", "I'd give anything to be where you are" and "If I had a song that could dissolve you like sleep". In other words, exactly the same kind of elegantly maudlin ruminations that fans have come to expect, lit with rare but isolated wry smiles such as that evinced by "Christian Science Reading Room", an apocryphal tale of how his own religious conversion was irresistibly followed by that of his cat.

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