You love 'em or hate 'em -- there is no middle ground. Their offbeat style of alternative rock with either soothe your soul or abrade it. I am in the former camp. I love the Eels, can't get enough of this intelligent, catchy stuff. Mark Oliver Everett (otherwise known as E) IS the Eels -- no disrespect to the other fine musicians in the band. His presence just overshadows the rest. That is not a bad thing, and the music always comes together in a way that makes it seem like it had to be just so -- all elements from vocals to instrument blend perfectly, nothing overshadowing anything else. At the center of it all is E and his raspy, emotional, insightful and intelligent lyrics. They are the glue that holds the songs together.
I digress, this is supposed to be a review of the Trinkets album. Well, all of what I just wrote still applies.
This is a wonderful collection for the fans, less so for Eels newcomers. For them I would say start with their studio albums (like Daisies of the Galaxy and Electro-Shock Blues) and fall in love with them that way. For the rest of us, this is a treasure trove of rare tracks and alternate takes that Eels fans will eat up! Not every song has the amazing production quality of the Eels studio albums, but for the most part they are quite good. Picking favorites out of the 50 collected tracks is a daunting task. If you are an Eels fan then you know different tracks will resonate more for you on different days. With each disc clocking in at around 75 minutes, there is plenty to enjoy. Live tracks are fun to hear...often getting different treatment than the studio versions. The Moog version of "Novocain for the Soul" is a favorite of mine, as is the rockier version of "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" at the beginning of disc 2 and covers like "Can't Help Falling In Love" and "I Put A Spell On You."
The presentation is wonderful, a richly designed 4-fold digipack with photos from most of the Eels eras. The accompanying book has tons of photos and concept art, and E's commentary about each of the tracks makes the experience all the more enjoyable and enlightening. Also fun is the 6 track Lollapalooza 2006 live performance DVD where the band really rocks out. The hijinks of the "security guard" is also fun to watch. It is an interesting contrast considering the Eels with Strings that was to follow.
All in all, this double CD set does an admirable job of gathering rarities from the Eels first 10 years. I would recommend it to any fan of E and the Eels. I'd also like to recommend Eels with Strings - Live at Town Hall, one of the best concert DVDs I've seen in a while. It makes a nice companion for Trinkets, and their greatest hits so far compilation, Meet the Eels: Essential Eels 1996-2006, Vol. 1. New-fans should probably start with Meet the Eels before moving on to this album.
4.5 Stars. Here's looking forward to 10 more innovative years!