1995, Music

Tindersticks [II] (1995)

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but Tindersticks hit me in a place where I am just incapable of disliking them. It’s like Staples et al. just stumbled upon the formula for music I like, and for convincing me that it’s totally okay to release three double LPs to start your career. (If another band did that, I’d likely be highly critical. I’d be saying things like “you don’t need to release everything you record.”)

Maybe it’s the songs: Staples (and whoever is helping him) has a great sense of melody. The melodies are almost always strong enough to carry his murmur and I find myself like the songs enough that I don’t usually pay attention to the lyrics. (See also: that murmur.)

Maybe it’s his voice; despite being seemingly uninterested in enunciating there is drama to Staple’s murmur and there feels like there is talent behind it, if not technique. Yeah, I can’t understand what he’s saying a lot of the time, but I like the way he says it.

But it’s probably the arrangements: this is what I want chamber rock/pop to sound like – rough around the edges and much closer in aesthetic to a folk or country band than to a chamber ensemble, despite all the chamber instruments. There is something about these arrangements that just grabs me from the get go. Whether it’s their debut or this album, it seems like they just get dynamics in a way that many other bands – especially bands recording with chamber instruments – miss.

I also like the production: whether or not it’s true it doesn’t feel like this record has been rehearsed to death and there is a loose feel to these recordings. Though there are plenty of instruments, the songs are not overdubbed to death and you’re never listening to a song thinking anything sounds too perfect.

I love this band. It’s a shame it took me until my late 30s to know they existed.


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