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Eels' 'End Times' Will Be "A Divorce Album With a Modern Twist"

By November 16, 2009

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The Los Angeles indie-rock group Eels devoted a couple albums during the late '90s to frontman E's sadness over the deaths of his father, mother and sister. But the band's next record, End Times, will concern itself with another kind of death: the end of a relationship.

According to a press release, End Times, which is slated to be released on January 19, is "a 'divorce album' with a modern twist: the artist equates his personal loss with the world he lives in losing its integrity." Recorded on an old four-track tape machine, End Times promises to be a simple, stripped-down affair that will be more confessional and autobiographical than E's recent Hombre Lobo, which he wrote in the voice of a fictional character.

Because the phrase "divorce album" is used in the press release, one might assume that End Times will focus on his relationship with Natasha Kovaleva, whom he married in 2001 and divorced four years later. E has spoken very little about Kovaleva in interviews -- in fact, most people probably didn't even know the couple had separated until he discussed it in his 2008 memoir, Things the Grandchildren Should Know -- so maybe End Times will be his way of detailing what happened? Well, not so fast: The press release goes on to say, "When it comes to the topic of what relationship these songs are specifically about, [E] won't say. The subject matter is so personal that he won't be interviewed on the subject." So if we take this announcement at face value, End Times might not even be about Kovaleva -- and we shouldn't expect E to fill in the blanks for us.

Something else the press release makes me wonder: Will End Times be his Electro-Shock Blues of breakup records? You may remember that Blues movingly chronicled the deaths of his family members as well as E's grieving process during that time. If he could do the same thing for a relationship's death, it would be a pretty heartbreaking record.

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