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A career spanning

Eels - Meet the Eeels:
Essential Eels Vol. I, 1996-2006

Eels - Useless Trinkets: B-sides, Soundtracks,
Rarities and Unreleased, 1996-2006

(2007 Geffen Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars) Meet the Eels
4 stars (out of 5 stars) Useless Trinkets
Reviewed: Feb. 21, 2008

Review by Wade Vonasek

The Eels two new career-spanning albums Meet the Eels and Useless Trinkets give listeners a glimpse of a band that has maintained an artistic approach to its music, as well as been able to write a hit single or two along the way.

Mark Oliver Everett, or simply "E," has had his highs and lows throughout the Eels lifespan. But Meet the Eels showcases mostly winners. "Novocaine for the Soul," "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" and "Souljacker Part 1" are definite highlights, as well as two cuts from one of the group's finest, but underrated, albums Electro-Shock Blues, "Last Stop: This Town" and the Jon Brion remix of "Climbing to the Moon." However, the album could have still succeeded without the cover of Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On."

Trinkets, the collection of B-sides, rarities and unreleased tracks, is definitely targeted to hardcore fans. The disc shows that the group may be more prolific than many realized. The sheer number of tracks alone make it a challenging album for the casual listener, but for those who have followed the group's career closely, there are many gems including a live cover of Prince's "If I Was your Girlfriend," the Moog Cookbook remix of "Novocaine" and various BBC performances and soundtrack cuts.

Both albums serve their own purpose well. For new fans, Meet the Eels is a great starting point and introduction to the band, and Trinkets will be a feast for loyal fans salivating for more Eels. Bravo Mr. E!

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