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“Woke up lost in a world I didn’t know,” a typically downcast Mark Everett announces on the opening song: the Eels mainman specialises in glum, from the ruminations about bereavement on 1998’s Electro-Shock Blues to the songs about divorce on last year’s impressive Wonderful, Glorious.

His new album is dedicated to the cheery topic of romantic break-ups, offered as cautionary tales on how not to conduct a relationship. “I can’t keep repeating the mistakes of my youth,” Everett sings in his hoarse, imploring voice, but there’s scant sign of progress in the music – a gentle but dull acoustic strum, burnished by occasional string and horn arrangements.

The songs are slight and structured with saccharine simplicity, providing a too-easy sense of resolution to the entanglements that Everett describes.

Eels

Perform the Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett

(E Works)

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