Where To Start With... - January 28, 2022

Where To Start With... Eels
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Where To Start With... Eels

Emerging on the scene as something of an idiosyncratic antidote to the Britpop era of the mid-1990s, Eels have outlasted many of the bands from that decade, thanks in large part to the restless creativity of Mark Oliver Everett – better known simply as E – the songwriting force behind Eels and, since 2010, the band’s only full-time member, with a rotating cast of friends and like-minded musicians appearing alongside him, both in the studio and onstage.

Since his first album under the Eels banner, 1996’s Beautiful Freak, E has masterminded more than a dozen Eels albums, the most recent arriving in the form of 2020’s Earth to Dora.

This week Eels return once again with what becomes their 14th studio album Extreme Witchcraft, which sees E team up with producer John Parish for the first time since their 2001 album Souljacker, a decision he explained ina press release for the new album: “If you make music with John Parish, you get stuff no one else does. He has a really unique toolbox and musical outlook. Perhaps his politeness is a coping mechanism to keep Mr. Hyde under control when he's out of his laboratory.”

Extreme Witchcraft makes its arrival in stores on Friday (January 28) and to celebrate its release we trawled through their extensive back catalogue to pick out five key tracks from their story so far…

 


‘Novocaine for the Soul’

One of their first breakthrough hits along with ‘Susan’s House’ – both of which featured on their debut album Beautiful Freak, ‘Novocaine for the Soul’ pretty much set the template for Eels unique, signature sound in their early days, blending haunting samples with a lo-fi aesthetic and sardonic lyrics that have continued to form part of E’s trademark style. Still one of their best.

 


‘Fresh Feeling’

Although we could just as easily have picked the rip-roaring title track from fourth album Souljacker, released in 2002, ‘Fresh Feeling’ is just too gorgeous a track to leave off this list. One of the album’s best moments and one that finds Eels at their most achingly melodic.

 


‘That Look You Give That Guy’

Featured on 2009’s Hombre Lobo, ‘The Look You Give That Guy’ is another case of Eels more mellow side - and another of their most melodic moments. E shows his more tender lyrical side here, and the song remains a fan favourite even now.

 


‘Kinda Fuzzy’

Included on their 2013 album Wonderful, Glorious, ‘Kinda Fuzzy’ finds Eels engaging the distortion pedals and revelling in the fuzzy, lo-fi rock end of their musical spectrum. Mellow, melodic Eels is great, but sometimes they’re at their best when fully rocking out.

 


‘The Deconstruction’

Our final pick is taken from Eels 2018 album of the same name, serving both as its opener and one of the album’s standout tracks. If there’s any one Eels song encapsulates everything they’re about in one go, this is probably it – lazy grooves, spooky strings, shimmering guitars and a simple hook that lodges itself in your brain and refuses to budge.

 

 

Extreme Witchcraft is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store.

Extreme Witchcraft
Extreme Witchcraft Eels

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