EELS: Earth to Dora (E Works/PIAS) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Earth to Dora

E Works/PIAS

Nov 09, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Over the 20+ years of their existence, EELS (led by Mark Oliver Everett, aka E) have been one of the most reliable and unclassifiable indie acts around. Relying on their quirkily moody and eclectic sound, they successfully created a hybrid indie rock style that is not only a composite of multiple genres but more of a singular genre unto itself, unabashedly crafting a throng of powerful, atmospheric, and intimate songs along the way.

Unfortunately, Earth to Dora pumps the brakes on all the praise. EELS have plummeted back to Earth with a kinder, gentler album. Granted these songs were penned pre-coronavirus pandemic, but still. Long gone are the angst-driven, alt-rock guitar rockers such as “Novocaine for the Soul,” “Mental,” and “Dog Faced Boy.” Gone is the quirky, offbeat craftiness of songs such as “Flyswatter,” “I Like Birds,” “Hey Man (Now You’re Really Living),” and “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues,” along with the energetic, electric guitar riffs and spooky atmospherics on the likes of “Lone Wolf,” “Trouble With Dreams,” and “Bone Dry.”

We’re not left with much to chew on but some pleasant melodies and Everett’s signature, raspy croon. Nothing on Earth to Dora comes close to the indie rock peaks of EELS’ past. The raw energy of previous efforts has been lost and replaced with soothingly calm introspection. Listeners who make it through the whole album waiting for that much needed jolt only get a hint of the rich tonalities and punch they’ve become accustomed to on “Are We Alright Again” and “Baby, Let’s Make It Real.”

It’s doubtful Earth to Dora will win EELS any new fans and will most likely leave existing fans disappointed. But if you work at it, you may find some redeeming qualities since a sub-par EELS is still better than most. (

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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November 9th 2020