Tindersticks are a band who you either get or don't get, and subsequently you either love or loath. If you're in the latter camp, my apologies for them appearing here two Fridays in a row.
Today's five tracks come from the 1995 LP called Tindersticks (which confuses the hell out of some folk as their 1993 debut was also called Tindersticks).
It is always a difficult for any act to follow up a debut LP which has blown away the majority of critics and given you a fanbase that adores the music. Very few pull it off.
Tindersticks took two years to follow-up their debut, which you will recall was named record of 1993 by a number of critics. But the wait was more than worth it. For Tindersticks (II) from 1995 is their true masterpiece.
The best part of 70 minutes of music over 16 tracks, ranging from an instrumental track (which bizarrely is entitled Singing) that clocks in at under a minute in length to the epic eight-minute plus soap-opera of My Sister, the lyric of which manages to be a mixture of black comedy and tragedy in one sitting. This is an album with some of the most heartbreaking ballads ever recorded - Tiny Tears was later used as the song which accompanied the mental breakdown suffered by Tony Sporano in the outstanding TV series and was absolutely perfect for the scene - and the most perfect duet in Travellling Light in which two very world-weary voices accept that it truly is over. No More Affairs has an astonishingly brutal lyric and if it had been recorded by a a mainstream artist would surely have been a world-wide smash (and no doubt would have been murdered in karaoke bars galore). Cherry Blossoms is a part spoken-word number that has long been a live highlight and the strangely named Snowy In F# Minor will get you dancing!! But there really is no track that lets this record down. Honestly.
On first listen, you might find yourself thinking that it's an album dominated by Stuart Staples deep and smoky vocal, but it really is the music that makes this record. Loads of keyboards, strings and acoustic guitars throughout and some incredibly understated drumming and percussion. The instrumental tracks (there are three of them have a cinematic feel to them)
Warning. Do not come home late at night alone and half cut and put this LP on when you're feeling a wee bit sorry for yourself or a bit lonely. You will be weeping buckets at the end. It will seem as if you've listened to the soundtrack of your life and you will probably have also tanned in another bottle of red wine while doing so. I'm sure I'm not the only one that's happened to.
I'm only allowed five tracks today. It's a tough call. Especially as it's an album that really is best listened to from beginning to end (which is why I prefer the CD version than the vinyl......the need to first of all turn the LP over from Side 1 to Side 2 and then to dig out the second bit of vinyl for Sides 3 & 4 can spoil the mood). And with no singles allowed, I cant include the above mentioned Travelling Light or No More Affairs, so taking a deep breath, here goes:-
mp3 : Tindersticks - El Diablo En El Ojo
mp3 : Tindersticks - Tiny Tears
mp3 : Tindersticks - Snowy In F# Minor
mp3 : Tindersticks - She's Gone
mp3 : Tindersticks - Mistakes
Again, if I was typing this tomorrow, I'd probably change my mind.
Here's promos from the singles I wasn't allowed to feature!!
And some alternative versions:-
mp3 : Tindersticks - El Diablo En El Ojo (live in Lisbon, October 2001)
mp3 : Tindersticks - Tiny Tears (Marc Radcliffe Show, February 1997)
mp3 : Tindersticks - Snowy In F# Minor (John Peel Show, January 1994)
mp3 : Tindersticks - She's Gone (live, ICSA London , November 1996)
mp3 : Tindertsicks - Mistakes (live, Bloomsbury Theatre, London, March 1995)
More next Friday......