E has apparently been working on this record forever, and it is about 100 years long. A thousand mostly very mellow-tempo piano- or guitar-driven tracks with lovely lilts and beautiful melodies and guess what? It's all just depressing and melancholy, cuz that's what Mark Oliver Everett does best. At this length, though, it's just a tad much. A talented, very clever and sensitive man, E wears his tragedies like stylish accessories, which is fine, but he fails to create any relationship between his experience and that of the listener. Making that connection is the mark of a truly great songwriter, someone who speaks to a collective soul, if you will. That's not to say these aren't finely crafted, sometimes ethereally soaring tunes. Guest appearances include his dog Bobby Jr., Tom Waits, Peter Buck and the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian.
E and the Eels touch down at the Phoenix Saturday (June 25).