Being a devoted Eels fan can be pretty hard on the heart. The bitter, lonesome, near-despairing End Times was the eighth album in Mark Oliver Everett’s discography, and bore witness to the tearing of sinew and bone that comes at the end of a marriage.
Tomorrow Morning is, in a sense, an antidote to its predecessor. This is a record that begins in a position of hope and celebration; evading the clutches of the melancholy that so often catch hold of Mr. E’s work. In this respect, it’s closer in DNA to Daisies of the Galaxy than the darker stuff of Electro-Shock Blues or Souljacker, and sounds a lot like spring after the bleakest of winters.
‘Looking Up’ is like a trip to a gospel church for humanists: all tambourines, chorus-claps and rambunctious keys. It’s camped up through synthesized vocals and witty rhymes, but a religious experience it remains.
‘What I Have to Offer’ is a gentle, hopeful stab at self-confidence, and is reminiscent of a therapy exercise. On offer in this particular session are: “good manners”, “good pay”, “a caring nature” and “a tender touch”. This is one modest fellow, and he’s bursting at the seams with love.
There’s something dangerously addictive about all this optimism: ‘I’m a Hummingbird’ suggests a life of shit that’s finally on the mend, but the unbounded joy of the ensuing tracks, especially the outpouring of love in ‘Spectacular Girl’ and the unabashedly exultant ‘Oh So Lovely’ dominate the mood of this album. For the Eels, it’s positively perky.
Tomorrow Morning is a welcome respite from the apocalyptic outcry of End Times, but it might have benefitted from a bit of shadow in the light – Eels do dark better than anything, and there’s so little shade in this particular album that you begin to feel the want of it. Not too much, mind: FFS anticipates the next chapter of the Eels story with unabated anticipation.