EELS: Extreme Witchcraft (E Works/PIAS) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, October 2nd, 2023  


Extreme Witchcraft

E Works/PIAS

Jan 31, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After 2020’s disappointing Earth to Dora, it’s good to hear EELS rockin’ again on their 14th studio album, Extreme Witchcraft. But instead of the quirky, offbeat craftiness and the energetic, often spooky, guitar riffs of earlier releases, this one’s more of a straight-up rocker.

Most tracks are built around pleasant melodies and expressive guitar hooks with charming and up-tempo grooves that are fleshed out with timeless rock textures. Like homespun indie rock that is both familiar and likable accompanied by E’s signature, raspy croon. But for those that grew to love EELS from their early beginnings in the late ’90s through the early 2000s, you’ll understand the shortcomings here. Fortunately, a sub-par EELS is still better than most but even a couple of the better tunes on Extreme Witchcraft such as “Good Night On Earth” and “Stumbling Bee” sound like re-hashed songs from a previous EELS record.

Thankfully songs such as opener “Amateur Hour,” with its hooky chorus and tight, chunky guitar riffs, along with the upbeat ZZ Top-inspired groove of “The Magic,” and the raucous but pop-flavored “Better Living Through Desperation” make Extreme Witchcraft worth the price of admission even for EELS’ most ardent fans.

But the handful of slower, softer tracks and the straightforward rock approach are enough to drag Extreme Witchcraft down below the expectations of EELS’ decades-old reputation. Although it seems there were enough fumes left in the tank to crank out a brilliant closing track, “I Know You’re Right,” to which, perhaps, I should be singing the lyrics directly to EELS: “I know you’re right, and baby I am wrong. I know you’re right, I’m a goddamn fool.” (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10


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