Eels Are Not Afraid of the Dark

EelsThe DeconstructionE Works/PIAS
Mark Oliver Everett, who records as Eels, could be mistaken for a modern-day Job, recounting tales of extreme psychic distress in a weary rasp of a voice that suggests he’s perilously close to the breaking point. On his first studio outing in four years, Everett mixes up the grooves with his usual flair, ranging from delicate orchestral ballads to scruffy rockers to ensure the darkness never overwhelms. Riveting and ultimately uplifting, The Deconstruction juggles bleak vignettes and affirmations of hope, countering the primal angst of the title track with messages of reassurance on “Be Hurt” and “In Our Cathedral.” This engrossing album has the cathartic resonance of great blues music, and makes tough times a little easier to endure.