It was all worth it, to be here now...|
Before the tumult and heartache, things were "beautiful and free" for a brief moment at the beginning of the last EELS album, END TIMES. On that album EELS leader Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, sifted through the emotional wreckage of a romance gone wrong while living in an increasingly foreboding and unfriendly world. The follow-up to that harrowing work finds Everett not only recovered, but surprisingly invigorated -- discovering something more permanently beautiful and free in the new album's second track, "I'm a Hummingbird". The ninth EELS studio album, TOMORROW MORNING, is the brightest and most overtly uplifting work of the EELS' fourteen year career.
The final installment of a trilogy that started with 2009's HOMBRE LOBO and 2010's END TIMES (released a half year from each other), TOMORROW MORNING finishes the story on a high note. Following a four year gap between EELS studio albums, HOMBRE LOBO (June, 2009) dealt with what Everett called "The before. The hunger that starts everything." Conversely, END TIMES (January, 2010) tackled what he called "The after, and how you deal with the aftermath." TOMORROW MORNING (August 24, 2010) is "The redemption," he says. "A new beginning and another chance. The blooming of all new possibilities. The hope that was always there coming to fruition."
Unlike either the combustive garage-rock longing of HOMBRE LOBO or the stripped-down acoustic starkness of END TIMES, TOMORROW MORNING is a new musical landscape: electronic keyboards, drum machines, tape loops and found sounds. "It's a very electronic album -- sounds normally associated with a kind of 'colder' music," says Everett, "but I wanted to make a warm album that was a celebration using electronic instruments to reflect joy in the times I live in." Helping Everett bring the vibrant celebration to life are performances by longtime EELS bassist/keyboardist Koool G Murder and drummer/percussionist Knuckles, along with new EELS collaborators The Amy Davies Choir and Tomorrow Morning Orchestra. It's a bold, experimental and immediate new EELS sound. As Everett puts it, "There's a lot going on in these songs."
While END TIMES' closing track "On My Feet" found Everett hopeful for recovery, he makes it loud and clear in TOMORROW MORNING's raucous "Looking Up" that he is, indeed, very much back up and on his feet again:
Used to be kind of bitter
Always had a baby sitter
But I'm feeling much fitter
Now I'm pretty sweet
Back on my feet
Walking down the street
Now I'm oh so kind
Got no worried mind
I'm a real find
It took a little while but I'm a real fine man now
I never could but I always can now
Time has healed me
Can you feel me looking up?
"I'm just reflecting whatever is going on, be it good or bad. It's all part of life on Earth," Everett says, "and this time it's feeling good. I felt like throwing a musical birthday party for the world. END TIMES was a story that had to be told, but I always knew things were going to change." As he states in the song "Oh So Lovely":
If the grass is not greener you know what it needs
I knew that I had to throw down some seeds
Oh so lovely/Lord above me
I feel my heart changing in mysterious new ways
Now how can I tell you how grateful I am?
The fact that it's a hard-won victory makes it all the more meaningful. Everett has seen more than his fair share of hard times (the well-documented deaths of his entire family, for a start). In the new album's closing track, "Mystery of Life", Everett has an epiphany:
Ghosts flying all around my life
Sent a message both bold and bright
Good morning, mystery of life
It's heartening to see Everett take stock and come out on top. If he can make it -- maybe anyone can. "It's a little bit of hope for the hopeless," he says.
I went about my way unsteady and afraid
How could I know I was headed for this day?
- "I'm A Hummingbird"
The past few years have seen a flurry of EELS activity. After the 2007 publishing of Everett's acclaimed book THINGS THE GRANDCHILDREN SHOULD KNOW and the BBC/PBS NOVA broadcast of the award-winning PARALLEL WORLDS, PARALLEL LIVES documentary about Everett and his father, famed physicist Hugh Everett III, EELS released the career-spanning MEET THE EELS: ESSENTIAL EELS 1996-2006 and USELESS TRINKETS: Ten Years of Rarities collections (2008), followed by two brand new albums, the best-selling HOMBRE LOBO (2009) and the critically heralded END TIMES (2010). TOMORROW MORNING will be the third new EELS album in a little over a year and a half.
"These three albums were all meant to be part of a whole and I wanted them to come out close to each other," says Everett. "I had a lot of time to work on music during the four year break that followed BLINKING LIGHTS AND OTHER REVELATIONS (2005) and since then. After all that time revisiting the past in the book, documentary and retrospective collections, I was eager to get back to the present. But I don't think we're going to keep putting out a new album every six months. It was just the plan for these three. That's it for now."
I don't care about the past
None of it was made to last
It's not who you've known
But who you're knowing
- "I Like The Way This Is Going"
Asked about the new album's title, Everett says, "After what seems like an incredibly dark time, the hope that tomorrow is coming gives us all another chance. As long as there's a morning tomorrow, anything is possible." A call to arms in the album's third track, "The Morning", states it well:
In the morning
When the birds are still asleep
You can feel it
No cars are on the street
It's anybody's day
It could go any way
Why wouldn't you want to make
The most of it?
NOW AVAILABLE HERE
Release Date: August 24, 2010
01 in gratitude for this magnificent day
02 i'm a hummingbird
03 the morning
04 baby loves me
05 spectacular girl
06 what i have to offer
07 this is where it gets good
08 after the earthquake
09 oh so lovely
10 the man
11 looking up
12 that's not her way
13 i like the way this is going
14 mystery of life
DELUXE TOMORROW MORNING EDITION
01 swimming lesson
02 st. elizabeth story
03 let's ruin julie's birthday
04 for you