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Eels: Tomorrow Morning

Musically, there’s nothing groundbreaking about Tomorrow Morning, Eels’ ninth studio album. Longtime fans will recognize bits and pieces from across the career of frontman/songwriter/shaman Mark Oliver Everett: affected drum-and-electric piano stomp, winsome folk, the static of an old transistor radio. What they might not recognize, at least at first, is optimism. It’s especially welcome after years of songs that plunged listeners into depression, culminating in last year’s End Times. That album, with tracks like “Unhinged” and “I Need A Mother,” proved as excruciating as the titles suggest, and ended up blurring into a giant bummer. Tomorrow Morning is ostensibly about redemption, a peculiar concept to associate with Eels at this stage of the game. Still, it works. Pulling away the gloom lets Everett’s songs shine, and helps coalesce the distant strands of a complicated career. “Spectacular Girl” pushes a hard drumbeat, and calls to mind “Susan’s House” off 1996’s Beautiful Freak. “I Like The Way This Is Going,” meanwhile, is a bright-eyed love letter, with easy charm and a passing resemblance to “Packing Blankets,” off 2000’s Daisies Of The Galaxy. Both songs draw smiles, and they aren’t the only ones here that do. Everett is a complicated dude, and perhaps he’ll return to the dark stuff soon. That said, Tomorrow Morning proves a welcome change of pace.


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