Eels Put Out Another Indie Rock Classic with Extreme Witchcraft
4.8 out of 5 stars
I am never disappointed by an Eels album. The new album Extreme Witchcraft is no different. This is going to be one of the best albums of the year for sure. Mark Oliver Everett (“E”) always finds a way to make a laid back song rock in a way that maybe only Beck can do on any comparable level.
Right off the bat, “Amateur Hour” is a pretty good example of why I have always loved Eels. A rocking sound mixed with a distorted vocal that gives a raspy rock sound that is almost bluesy, but without being overly complex.
“Better Living Through Desperation” is a grunge-era rock song that is heavily modernized and is a perfect song to showcase the 25+ years of activity that this musical act (mostly kept alive by Everett) has endured.
There are also the “adult lullabies” as I call them on this album too. Songs that are mellow as hell, and are great for just chilling and listening as a somber piece to put on if you are not in the mood to totally rock out. “So Anyway” is one such song, and it is always a nice change of pace to go back and forth between those rock songs and the more mood inducing songs.
Honestly, I have seen reviews online just talking about how this album isn’t as good as past albums, but I have to wholeheartedly disagree with that. This is probably a top 3 or 4 Eels album in my opinion.
Earth to Dora which came out in 2020 and was one of my favorite albums of 2020, but that album is essentially a totally different type of album from this one. That was more of a reaction to isolation. Or at least that's what it felt like.
It seems that when E and John Parish (producer of past Eels albums) get together, they make amazing music, and their work on Extreme Witchcraft is another showcase of that combination.
One of the most interesting songs on the album is “Grandfather Clock Strikes Twelve” which has funk music infused in it. Probably the only time I can remember where funk was so upfront on an Eels song, but it doesn’t kick in right away either. It comes after a minute or so into the song and somehow it doesn’t sound out of place.
E has always had a way of finding ways to throw music into a blender and see what delicious concoction comes out in the end.
I don’t really want to dissect this album too much, because it is just thoroughly enjoyable, and the more I look for reasons to pick it apart, I can’t find anything to say or just have no reason to say anything.
Get stuck in and enjoy this album as it is a lot of things, but the most important thing it is in the end is a great damn album!