Hailing from my old haunt Brisbane, Australia, Trinkets are a four-piece instrumental post-rock behemoth, and The Old Museum, their debut album, shines a bright light on a band with a long and hopefully successful road ahead of them. Recorded live at the Old Queensland Museum, a semi-Gothic glory that I used to walk by most days, The Old Museum captures Trinkets’ ethereal spirit, their cohesion lending itself to large-scale excursions into chaos, brought subtly back under control with a deft touch and a sublime understanding of their instruments.
Due to their emphasis on Jo Lack’s violin, early comparisons have brought up the name of The Dirty Three, Australia’s most well-known instrumental outfit, and home of Bad Seed’s violinist Warren Ellis. This initial judgement, however, fails to fully account for the scope and beauty that is laid out before the listener’s ears, and closer compatriots might be Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Calexico, or even Ennio Morricone’s more orchestral soundtracks. Track six, “Failed Businessmen,” sounds like a Paris, Texas out-take, guitar notes eked out over a threatening yet barely audible bass, mimicking the buildup of the tropical storms Brisbane’s summer is famous for, unleashing its vengeance over five minutes, and then, suddenly, gone. The 11 minutes plus of “Improvisation in E” trawls the limits of near-silent plucking to the ravages of an all-out assault on Thomas Madden’s bass, Ben Tolliday’s guitar, and Lack’s machine-gun-like violin, whilst drummer Gray knows exactly how to tentatively tap out the quietest rhythms that let the track ebb and flow to its graceful climax.
For a debut, live work, The Old Museum is an incredibly assured release, and its 67 minutes encompass realms of passion, peace, and sheer violence that when it’s all over and done with, you, like the audience, are left breathless by the fury yet wanting so much more. Trinkets are currently planning to record their next full-length release in the QLD rainforest, a challenge that, if this is anything to go by, will be just as rich and textured. Trinkets have managed to capture a cross-cut of sub-tropical life, where the veneer of lush beauty only barely covers the ground-swell of utter chaos residing beneath the canopy. The Old Museum is truly magnificent.
The Old Museum can be purchased for $15.95 (Australian dollars, which equals around $8.50 US) by contacting Ben Tolliday at firstname.lastname@example.org.