mon 21/10/2019

CD: Eels - The Deconstruction | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Eels - The Deconstruction

CD: Eels - The Deconstruction

Acoustic tenderness gets lost amongst middle-of-the-road musical wanderings

An album which doesn't quite catch fire

The Deconstruction is the 12th album from Californian rockers Eels, written and co-produced as always by perennial frontman Mark Oliver Everett (“E”). With 2014’s The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett garnering mixed reviews, The Deconstruction seems determined to do the same, constantly blending the emotional with the whimsical. Whilst this works to an extent on a track-by-track level, it unfortunately makes the album feel disjointed as a whole.

The title song begins in a pool of soft guitar, twinkling sounds, and gorgeous strings which – juxtaposed with E’s weathered voice – turns what could be a straightforward indie track into something much more enticing and magical. Similarly, album closer “In Our Cathedral” matches minimalism with grandeur as flutes, organs, and touching lyrics dance across the song.

Indeed, much of the album is buoyed up by the lush orchestration and ethereal noises. This means, however, that songs like “Today Is the Day” and “You Are the Shining Light” feel out of place amongst such carefully crafted acoustic numbers. Whilst the former is a playful indie jaunt, the latter is cheesy rock’n’roll-lite; even its (restrained) solo made from vintage UFO SFX synths, whilst interesting, doesn’t add much in the way of emotion or depth. That said, such quick switches in tone are effective on the warbling “Rusty Pipes”, which rests as much on its balletic choir samples as its backbone of a trip-hop drumbeat that comes in and out of the song.

The band seem well aware that The Deconstruction “may or may not inspire” listeners, but also argue that “if you look for it, there is still great beauty to be found” – and there are indeed flashes of brilliance across the album. However, given the relative infrequency of such nuggets of gold, The Deconstruction perhaps won’t be quite as inspiring as Eels might have hoped.


There are indeed flashes of brilliance across the album


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article


'Balletic Choir'??? It's Puccini - the Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly.

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.