This Eels article was written by Richard Norton, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Nick Roseblade
First things first, the band is called Eels, whose only permanent member is Mark Everitt usually just referred to as E. The innocent album cover art for ‘Daisies of the Galaxy’ shows children playing against innocent surroundings, plus the cutesy sounding title could have misled people as to what they would get from the album (the album was used by right wing politicians in America as “evidence” of adult material being marketed to children) and the “Parental Advisory” sticker pasted on the cover seems like a bizarre piece of satire. But behind this shining veneer something dark and sinister lurks.
Undeniably the idea of death hangs over this album but it is still very positive. The high point of the album is midway through with ‘Flyswatter’ and ‘It’s A Motherfucker’. ‘ Flyswatter’ felt more like the typical Eels song as it sounds absolutely terrifying, dark and disturbed, with haunting notes on what sounds like a xylophone and is definitely a song that could be used to introduce a serial killer in a film. Despite ‘It’s A Motherfucker’s’ profanity it is a touching song about someone missing from life and the struggle it is carrying on without them. The song is about E’s mother dying but it would serve equally well for any important relationship in a person’s life that has ended for any number of reasons.
‘The Sound Of Fear’ is another song whose title might suggest something more sinister but is a pleasant sojourn. A driving drum beat keeps the song moving while simple keyboard chords, mixed with E’s sardonic vocals float and intertwine in the ether above it. ‘I Like Birds’ is simple and catchy and one of the best pop songs E ever wrote. ‘Selective Memory’ has E damning his own memory and it’s gaps and imperfections, denying him the opportunity to remember everything of a person he has lost.
It’s this gift for under lying malice that makes ‘Daisies of the Galaxy’ a sublime and terrifyling album. At times there is a grotesque carnival quality about everything. The music is slick, tight and very, very catchy. This is juxtaposed with lyrics about death, lose and general heartache. At times it feels like the musical equivalent of a Roald Dahl short story. While its enjoying, your waiting for the twist at the end. That twist comes in the form of Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues. This is possibly the best known Eels song. It’s very poppy and upbeat with E repeating again and again about how “God Dam right, It’s a Beautiful Day”. This being the final track on the album leaves the listener feeling positive, but dig deeper and things aren’t what they seem. Through E’s gift at song writing he manages to make America’s barbaric history of land snatching, teenage runaways and a killing spree that’s about to happen sound like the most poppy thing ever. You can see why it caused a bit of a stir at the time of release. All that to one side ‘Daisies of the Galaxy’ is an often maligned and misunderstood album. Why not give it a listen and immerse yourself in forty four minutes of a band at the peak of their song writing powers and give yourself a beautiful Day.