Album Review: Eels – Earth to Dora

Eels new album Earth to Dora is an eclectic gathering of emotions and life-lessons rolled up into a swiss roll of simple truths. Whether you have loved Eels since the 90’s or have just discovered them, this album oozes some of their best jams and one heartfelt epiphany that rings continually, and loudly, through each track.

The genius of Eels and Mark Everett (E) has made a true heart-on-your-sleeve indie record that is reminiscent of The Beatles and Johnny Cash. A caring canoodle soaked in the musings of thought. The trilling streams of drum and guitar match perfectly to every lyric. The songs, constructed out of a metaphorical tape and glue situation, take you on a ride of understanding. Each melodic interlude, a stop on the way.

The consciously timed release of the 13th studio album is aimed to give something back to fans. A sunrise peeping out from the covid-19 soaked world we are living in right now.

E said, “I’m hoping they can be, maybe kind of soothing or something. To hear songs dealing with things we are dreaming about getting back to”.

This album certainly does just that. The twelve tracks interlink like train carriages in a bright skied dream. A journey of thought, while still maintaining the semblance of pure simplicity that has made Eels famous.

Starting with the poppy ‘Anything for Boo’, tambourines and classic, straight drum rhythms make it impossible to get out of your head. The listener is transported straight into E’s musical meanderings. Paralleled with the beautifully composed romantic trills of ‘Dark and Dramatic’ that could rock you off into a sweet meditation of woeful resilience.

‘Are You Fucking Your Ex’ stands out as a necessary profanity. The build up to the song uses a resonating bass line that sounds like it is straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film. It urges the brain to imagine E as a gnarly detective. He’s tired of the games, and just has to ask her ‘Are You Fucking Your Ex?’.

In the lightly lyrical ‘Of Unsent Letters’, via the use of crystal-clear sound recording, you can almost see E’s mouth uttering the words in his ex-lover’s ears. A somehow too close for comfort, emotive experience that leaves you reeling right into the following, resolute record ‘I got Hurt’.

The title track and, what inspired the album ‘Earth to Dora’, is an uplifting and genuinely platonic, almost father-like love song. Created after a line of text messages between E and his longtime friend and sound manager, Dora. It delves deep. The catchy, minimalistic beat gives emphasis to the lyrics, as it paints a picture of the sun that has ‘been smiling since your birth’. The dawn of realization that if you look up at the sunshine and let it in, nature and time will always make you feel good. The song continues to ask ‘Dora’ to smile at herself in the mirror and ‘give her a kiss. She can smile as long as she wants’, affirming the delicious idea that as long as you realize your own self-worth, nothing can get to you.

The final track on the album, and the climax of E’s words of wisdom ‘Waking Up’ spins on the same axis as ‘Earth to Dora’. The sweet guitar melodies suit his serious omnipotent voice, as he sighs ‘lovers come and lovers go’ he reassures that after all his various entwinements with love. That this time he ‘won’t blow it’. This powerfully simple ballad questions the idea that there is more than one type of love to take a chance on, perhaps, after the birth of his son, Archie in 2017, it is more of an introduction into the understanding of fatherhood rather than a romantic love exploration. Either way, this tune echoes the resounding message of self-love and confidence that was smiled into ‘Earth to Dora’.

This is an album that allows the mind to go on its own journey. A reminder that love is hot, wide and endless like the sunshine. That someone always loves you. That there are always new kinds of love and joy to find out there, on planet Earth.

Article by Jess Milner,

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