Eels reportedly (according to Wikipedia) were named so that their CDs would appear close by frontman Mark Everett's solo work, released under the name 'E'. That was 15 years ago and, whether you knew his voice before then or have only come to know it since, previous albums including Beautiful Freak and Daisies of the Galaxy have become celebrated, if excessively mellow, entries in many of our record collections.
This is Tomorrow Morning, the latest instalment in the Eels franchise - if that's the right word (it's not). There are similarities and differences between this and previous efforts, which probably goes without saying. It's good - which, with E, also really can be taken as a given. Personally, I think with Eels you just have to give it a go and see what you think. That being said, if you want to know what I think, do read on...
Track one, In Gratitude For This Magnificent Day, is a fitting return to get things going with a bit of energy but the same characteristic melody that you might expect from an Eels album. Its immediate follow-up, I'm A Hummingbird, contrasts starkly with a much more mellow feel to it and some very subtle, understated drama. Revel in the vocals on a track that seems designed to showcase Mark Everett's distinctive voice.
Living up to its name, This Is Where It Gets Good, at 6:18, is almost two full minutes longer than its nearest rival. That doesn't automatically make it a high point of the album, but the cycle of moods - with trance-like interludes and sequences of building drum beats leading to the later parts of the song - creates a structure that copes well with the long instrumental ending. It's a strange composition, and hard to explain or describe, but give it a try and see what you think.
As usual, there are positives and negatives here. I love the definite Eels flavour to the whole album - much of the music and vocals alike could be from any earlier album. But there are a couple of things that are hard to pin down, but take the shine off for me. I think it's probably the injections of energy that disrupt the pace of the album as a whole. Of course, there's no reason to listen to an album all the way through any more. Just download the tracks you want and forget about the rest.
If you're still a fan of physical CDs and not just mp3 downloads, don't be dissuaded. If you're a fan of Eels, definitely don't be put off. There's plenty of Mark 'E' Everett's trademark style all over this album to satisfy, and a good few songs that are reminiscent of the very best Eels music from the past 15 years. Don't let this be the missing disc in your Eels collection - get your order in now, you won't be disappointed.
Final Score: 75%