Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
· Catharsis three years in the making.
For a time it seemed like Eels mainman E had completely lost the plot. Started as his grand statement more than three years ago, the recording of the mammoth two-CD, 33-song Blinking Lights and Other Revelations was stuck on the backburner for the completely underwhelming rocker Souljacker and Shootenanny! albums a pair of records that not only lost Eels their Dreamworks record deal, but much of the groups affectionate attention.
Hearing Blinking Lights for the first time, its easy to see where Es heart and talent were focused. It is, without much stretch of the imagination, a genuine masterpiece on love and loss. As a rumination on the tragedies that seem to have followed E since the surprise buzz-bin success of Beautiful Freak , Blinking Lights differs from Eels earlier miserable wonder Electro-Shock Blues by looking towards the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
In terms of highlights, there are many: the bossa-nova stumble of "Hey Man (Now Youre Really Living)"; the epic heights of "In The Yard, Behind The Church"; the 60s beat-group homage of "Going Fetal" (featuring Tom Waits crying like a baby); and the downright lovely "Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb." Strung together by oft-repeated differentiations of the title track, Blinking Lights concludes as a final definition on toy-store orchestrated pop.
At the time of his death, Elliott Smith (perhaps Es closest kin in the misanthrope pop-genius stakes, not to mention his Dreamworks labelmate) had just completed an album similar in scope and content, its harshest moments trimmed away and the rest released as the truncated single disc From the Basement on the Hill. The difference between the two comes in Blinking Lights biggest triumph when E proclaims, "One day I will be all right again." We know its true.