The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett (Deluxe Version)
Mark Oliver Everett (a.k.a. E, a.k.a. Eels) is rarely a chipper dude. It’s understandable, considering the life he’s had. His dad (quantum physicist Hugh Everett III) was a remote genius, while his sister committed suicide and his mother died from cancer. Anyone familiar with Electro-Shock Blues knows the details. Cautionary Tales shares this confessional vibe. “Agatha Chang” is brutal and beautiful, an acoustic guitar piece with orchestration and vocals that recall early Randy Newman records. “Series of Misunderstandings” turns up the creep factor, with a music box accompanying an ethereal melody. Without the standard rock band approach (drums are scarce, though found on the catchy “Mistakes of My Youth”), E relies on subtle arrangements of fingerpicked guitars and orchestrated keyboards to create an extended missive on love, loss, and his usual existential woes. “A Swallow in the Sun” pushes forth a dreamlike aura alongside a gruffer E vocal. At this point, E is writing for fans who know his story. The deluxe edition adds six bonus demos and six live radio performances that are for those fans.