(EWorks, out Fri 6 Apr 2018)
Mark Oliver “E” Everett has always been a haunted, melancholy fellow, lyrically preoccupied with mortality and mental pain. The death of your entire immediate family can do that to you. But his last album was so fragile and barely there, it seemed he might actually just curl up and disappear into his anguish completely.
The Deconstruction is a step back from that brink. It is, within reason, a playful affair. It’s dotted with samples, or at least hooks made to sound like samples – a blizzard of eastern sounding strings on the title track, a skipping 50s Disney motif on Rusty Pipes – and dreamy instrumental interludes like The Quandary and Coming Back. There’s a sexy 60s shimmy to the noir-y Bone Dry which is as close as he’s come to that other offbeat 90s genius, Beck. It’s dark, but colourful.
Lead single, Today Is The Day is a complete red herring though. A swinging, hand-clapping ode to positivity, it’s by far the most upbeat song here, to the point of sticking out like a sore thumb. Not that there aren’t other moments to put a smile on the face. “I love that you’re my best friend and my wife,” he sings on the twinkly Sweet Scorched Earth. “The world can take it, and so can you,” is his advice on the lazy, lightly jazzy Be Hurt. “I’m beautiful and brave,” he reassures himself on Rusty Pipes, although he has spent most of the rest of the song mulling on hearses and such like.
You Are The Shining Light is a pacey, surf-rocky number that recalls 2002’s Souljacker, but sounds a bit past its prime here. The album then runs out of steam towards the end, dissolving into a sequence of slowies that lack the texture and complexity of earlier tracks. There I Said It would be pretty enough on its own but by the time you reach limp closer In Our Cathedral three songs later, it’s been a bit of a trudge. Even something as simple as the tootling bassoon from the title track would’ve pepped it up. It’s a shame, because edited back a couple of songs, The Deconstruction is a fine showcase for how Everett is still pushing on forward.