Eels is ours. They are a rock band and establishment that America can claim as one of our musical treasures. The band, who has been around since 1991, has plowed ahead with a new album every year since their inception pretty much. Although the band is known for their 90s alt rock hit “Novocaine for the Soul”, off their debut 1996’s Beautiful Freak, the band has continued to evolve sonically through each album. The band incorporates a light rock motif with both acoustic and bass guitars with melodies weaving in and out with a cinematic feel. The band took a somber turn with Electro Shock Blues considering with what was going on in singer’s Mark Oliver Everett’s personal life. (His sister died of suicide and his mother passing away from cancer). Shortly after, bassist and founding member, Tommy Walter, left the group only to rejoin later on. The band has seen many line up changes, but Everett was the consistent band member that held up Eels’ name throughout the years.
Their fourteenth studio album, Extreme Witchcraft, was released January 28, 2022. You can’t stray away from Everett’s raspy voice and recharged rock vibes on Witchcraft especially after the band’s doosy of a last album 2020’s Earth to Dora. It’s like Everett is rebounding with happiness and good old rock tunes that launch with the first song “Amateur Hour” which is reminiscent of a Tom Petty groove. The good times roll on with “Good Night On Earth” showing off an electro guitar riff as Everett sings “Once upon a time, mom and dad felt fine/Thought it was time for a birth/Ever since then the trouble never ends/But it’s a good night on earth” makes the listener feel at ease with this feel good song.
The band find’s itself in a lighter mood throughout this album thanks possibly due to the help of John Parish rejoining and taking the reigns as producer for this effort. “Strawberries and Popcorn” is a joyous ode to self-indulgence and celebrating one own’s freedom–something that Everett finds humorous in this laid-back song that possibly aligns with his don’t give a f*ck attitude towards the critics.
The album displays it’s more poppier side of things with “Better Living with Desperation” and closes out with “I Know You’re Right”, which goes down as classic Eels vintage sound. Eels have seen its up and downs musically throughout the years, just like any band has, but they are still together after all these years, which goes much to say that they will definitely go down as one of America’s keepsakes.