Watch This Solid Rock Performance By The Eels On Colbert

I think the greatest thing any Rock band can hope to achieve, outside of creating a catalogue full of undisputed masterpieces, is to be unpredictable. Most of the greatest artists of all time have confounded critics and fans with changes in sound and direction at various points in their career, and they have enhanced their legacy because of it. Rock has always been about looking forward, not looking back. Complacency is the enemy of Rock & Roll.

The commitment to finding new sounds is one of the things that has made the Eels one of America’s finest bands over the past 20 years. Led by the enigmatic Mark Everett, the Eels have bounced between hard-core indie, quiet, personal and introspective ballads, and various explorations of electronica. The tragic events of Everett’s life story have given a lot of Eels music a tinge of sadness, but they have also added a depth to the music and to his already outstanding smoky vocal style.

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Their new album The Deconstruction is one of the best albums of the year so far, and as per usual it has defied the expectations of fans and critics. The single “Today Is The Day” is one of the most unabashedly happy and uplifting songs you will ever hear, especially coming from a so-called “sad band”. And the other night on Colbert they performed the song “Bone Dry”, a good, old-fashioned swamp rocker.

As befitting a song about a metaphorical love vampire, the performance was recorded with a sepia-toned visual effect which, when combined with Everett’s Frankensteinish approach to the mic stand gave the whole thing high marks for kitsch. But it’s a good solid song, and it is made great by the fabulous tone and playing of lead guitarist Mike Sawitzke, whose reverby, twangy sound really knocked me out. There’s no sign at all of complacency when it comes to these guys.

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