Back in the 70s, I laughed and sneered at those who went on and on and on about the musical abilities of guitarists, keyboardists and drummers who made music that went on and on and on. What was there to admire about groups who have single songs filling up the entire side of an LP? I liked my music raw and I liked it short and sweet.
As my musical tastes have matured, I have come to realise that music filled with orchestras, horns, extended instrumentations can often be things to treasure. The 15-year old JC would have hated the LP Tindersticks. The 30-year old JC thought it was one of the best records would ever likely hear in his whole life.
This self-titled 1993 debut is an astonishing piece of work. Coming in at almost 80 minutes over 21 tracks (22 if you bought the vinyl double-LP), it was, to quote Melody Maker's review as it made it record of the year, sprawling, ambitious, faltering, brilliant, romantic, spontaneous, spooky, flawed and delightful. To my ears it was a record that was a close cousin to the work of Paul Quinn, Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen.
I don't think I'm alone by saying it was largely Stuart Staples' voice that first got me hooked and most of the time I'd fix on him trying to decipher his lyrics, many of which were half-mumbled in a low drone. Before too long, it was the music that really sucked me in. I remember in particular being drunk and lying in bed listening to it through headphones and thinking that the second instrumental break during Jism was just the most astonishingly powerfully emotional bit of music I'd ever been exposed to. It made go back and play the whole album again through the headphones and that's when the real beauty and majesty of the playing on this record hit me.
This isn't a record best enjoyed lying under the sun on a Caribbean beach. It's one for late nights, with the blinds drawn and the lights dimmed with a large glass of alcohol in your hand to be sipped slowly as you listen. And don't let anything or anyone distract you - switch off the mobile, shut the door to your pet cat and play it at a volume that fills the room you're sitting in. You'll soon be lost in music.
mp3 : Tindersticks - Jism
mp3 : Tindersticks - Raindrops
mp3 : Tindersticks - Marbles
mp3 : Tindersticks - Her