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Daisies of the Galaxy

music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Daisies of the Galaxy

Artist: Eels
Genre: Rock
Release Date: March 2000

Review by LarryG
3 stars out of 4

Eels are among the most appealing, idiosyncratic pop bands around. Frontman E took a big step forward with 1998's Electro-Shock Blues, a set of songs largely about the death and illness of family and friends. Electro-Shock Blues was striking and moving but it was so sad and personal that listening felt like an invasion of privacy. Daisies Of The Galaxy is also personal and fairly subdued but it's more hopeful and accessible.

Daisies Of The Galaxy has lots of different musical ideas but it stays simple and unpretentious. There's a warm, comfortable feel throughout from E's nearly spoken but tuneful singing and his winningly real stories. As on some of Electro-Shock Blues' best songs(3 Speed and Climbing To The Moon), E is appealing singing simple songs. Most of the songs are mostly E's voice and guitar or piano with other embellishments adding texture. Horns add poignance to Grace Kelly Blues' acoustic guitar. Sad vignettes are given hope by E's vocal and final line: "sun melting the fake smile away, I think, you know, I'll be okay." Chiming keyboards and E's simple strumming match Packing Blankets' optimism. A move symbolizes leaving behind "all the troubles you and I have seen." Daisies Of The Galaxy's sad, quiet title track is a sweet tale of a man and a boy also seeking happiness in a new town. On the simplest songs, E's honesty and vulnerability is very appealing. It's A Motherfucker's stark lyrics, strings and piano communicate the pain of desperately missing someone. Jeannie's Diary is a stunner about yearning to "be a page" in her diary. With delicate strings and keyboards, it's reminiscent of early unironic Steely Dan songs like Dirty Work, Rikki, Don't Lose That Number and Doctor Wu. Daisies Of The Galaxy has three very minimal songs near the end. By then it's hard to maintain interest in all the unassuming songs. But the mellow songs are pretty good, especially the last one, Selective Memory. E uses a Neil Young style raw falsetto, singing about filling in painful gaps in his memory of a loved one.

Daisies Of The Galaxy is mostly subdued singer/songwriter songs but E mixes fun and silliness with the seriousness. A skating rink organ and jolly horns mock E's lyrics on Tiger In My Tank about buying rock star ashes and dreaming that his TV and phone are growing legs and leaving him alone. I Like Birds is a goofy but understated celebration of escaping the excesses of modern life and people who "act like a turd" with winged friends. E promises "if you're small and on a search, I've got a feeder for you to perch on." E, like Beck, is always combining different sounds. The Sound Of Fear, with a big Butch Norton beat and lots of keyboard squiggles, is particularly Beck-like. The interesting, dancable Flyswatter, about the many challenges life presents, is the only song where E's desire to add different sounds is a little showy. Daisies Of The Galaxy has its share of upbeat songs but the only real rocker is its "bonus track" Mr. E's Beautiful Blues, which is a welcome energy boost. The verse lists a string of dark images like "the smokestack's spitting black soot into the sunny sky/the load on the road brings a tear to the Indian's eye" but the chorus("Goddamned right it's a beautiful day") seems heartfelt rather than ironic because the music is so joyful. Norton's steady drums, an insistent honk and other synth effects and a nice, circular guitar line make Mr. E's Beautiful Blues simple and buoyant, like a faster version of REM's Stand.

Daisies Of The Galaxy's songs are well written and bare the mark of a searching, appealingly real artist dealing with sadness and tragedy and looking for hope. Daisies Of The Galaxy is mostly mellow but the music is distinctive and thoughtfully conceived.



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