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Where it all began for a most undervalued band
on 21 August 2004
The first Tindersticks album is a melange of slow hypnotically building ballads, spoken narratives, instrumental interludes and some twisted pop songs ('City Sickness'). Tindersticks belong to a lineage that includes such greats as Cohen, Waits, Cave, and Morricone. It's fair to say that the mood of this album is largely one of despair and resignation, leavened with their typical black humour. Indeed, late night melancholia pervades most Tindersticks albums, invoking memories of desolate rain soaked city streets and fractured love affairs. For this debut strings and brass are used to great effect and Stuart Staples deep grave voice is brilliantly suited to this material. Tindersticks would actually manage to better this album, and improve and refine the ideas here on their later albums, but this is an amazingly well formed debut. It does take a number of plays (and it is a long album) before the songs work their way into your psyche but its well worth the effort. This remastered version of the CD sounds much better than the initial one. The extra disc basically consists of the first album demos. It would actually be quite a good album in its own right. Despite guitars sounding a bit watery in places, it's relatively fully formed. The track 'Visiting' which never made the leap to the first album proper is one of those trademark spoken narrative pieces. I can see why it didn't make the cut but I still quite like it.
This was an extraordinary piece of work for an emerging band, the first of a number of Tindersticks classics and with the addition of the bonus disc this is a very satisfactory purchase