on March 31, 2004
My musical tastes are wide-ranging and I am always looking for something different, something out of the ordinary to stimulate my interest. I stumbled across Tindersticks when I first heard Stuart Staples sing on the Lee Hazlewood tribute Total Lee!. I was instantly mesmerized by his delivery and so purchased a couple of Tindersticks CDs in order to get a better idea of what he is about. After a year of listening on and off, this CD has become a favorite both for me and for many friends.
Though some of the songs are a little quirky, the overall quality is enough to give this recording five stars. Here's what I like best: the driving, morose Whiskey and Water; the urgency of Milky Teeth; the rhythmic sway of Jism; the tense Drunk Tank; and the mysterious Paco de Renaldo's Dream. Through it all, Stuart Staples' original vocal style will keep your attention as will Tindersticks' instrumentation. He is sometimes hard to understand until you are used to him, and the one negative aspect of this CD is that no lyrics are provided in the liner notes.
Some have compared him to Nick Cave, but I don't see any resemblance except perhaps in the song lyrics. I can't really compare Staples and his band with anyone in my experience. Tindersticks is an original.
If you are musically adventurous and looking for something a little different from the SOS played on the radio, I recommend that you try Tindersticks starting with this CD here.
on October 1, 2002
Tindersticks are masters of luxuriant melancholy, with beautiful strings, off-kilter orchestration, lyrics of full of gorgeous dispair. They are easily one of the best bands to come along in the 90s.
There are, as other reviewers have mentioned, obvious influences and reference points incorporated into Tindersticks' music - Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, even Roxy Music. However, this band goes far beyond these influences, and creates a unique orchestral, languid sound.
I own most of Tindersticks' cds, and I would recommend this one as the place to start (or the only one to own, if you must have only one). It is the freshest, and most experimental. Tyed is an amazing, dark song. City Sickness is near perfection. There really isn't a weak song on the entire cd.
Note: these comments actually are directed to Tindersticks[I], not Tindersticks[II]. I noticed that Amazon has a hard time attaching the reviews to the right cd when it comes to these two cds. Tindersticks[I] is a stronger cd than [II], but both are excellent
on March 2, 2000
The Tindersticks' first album is an eccentric, mournful, off-kilter, but marvellously original masterpiece. Stuart Staples' Vic Reeves impression may not be to everybody's tastes, but the chances are that if you don't hate it on first listen, you will grow to love that strange, melancholy baritone that imparts so much feeling into the Tindersticks' brilliant music.
The album gets off to a stuttering start, but when the first abortive bars of Blood kick in around track five, it begins to blossom into a beautifully wistful, brooding and slightly twisted work of art. As Staples croons "There's an ugly crowd inside me that specialise in violation", you begin to wonder just what it is he is singing about. City Sickness is one of the stand out tracks on an oustanding album, another slightly disturbing, but infectiously brilliant window into Stuart Staples' world. Patchwork is another gorgeous song, the heart of its melancholy beating in the line "I tried love, it never looked that hard", while Marbles is sheer brilliance, the band weaving a marvellously weird tapestry of sound, while Staples mutters about love being "a series of complicated dance steps, once learned, never forgotten". Later on, Jism sounds like The Gipsy Kings on acid, a dark, twisted tale of jealousy and revenge, the denouement coming when Staples asks "Is there anyone else? I'll understand - and kill them". The album's high point, however, comes with Raindrops, an unutterably bleak, hauntingly beautiful ode to dying love. As the violins swoon and the piano murmurs, and Staples whispers "We sit and watch the divide widen, we sit and listen to our hearts crumble" if you don't feel a lump in your throat, you are not human.
As the final bars of The Not Knowing fade into the ether, you seem to awaken from a sad, beautiful dream, with the feeling that you've lost a part of yourself, and will never be able to find it again. Embrace it.
on February 3, 2000
Ah, Tindersticks, Tindersticks, Tindersticks....a sweet cocktail of melancholy, vitriol, seedy sexual practice and desperately tired, desperately lovely nocturnal music. Their debut is an uncut diamond, a sow's ear turned into a silk purse. Long, disjointed and shot through with despair and loneliness, it nevertheless lifts the spirit like few albums can. Stuart Staples' "unique" vocal style and the band's strange hybrid of folk and lounge somehow produce a sound which far oustrips the sum of its parts. The record gets off to a jumpy start but when "Blood" makes its abortive entrance, the album really digs its claws into you (albeit the claws of a knackered old cat you seem to have known all your life). "Blood" seems to be about erections (don't quote me on this) while "City Sickness" seems to be concerned with auto-eroticism. "Patchwork" is lovely and Marbles is marvellous. Later "Jism" is insanely jealous and darkly darkly, dark, while "Raindrops" has lost all hope whatsoever. "The Not Knowing" sees us at the end of a remarkable, surprising, entrancing journey, all gently medieval and sweetly vulnerable. See them live too - they make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up...
on August 20, 1999
This is a pretty good "moody" record with lots of atmosphere, but lets not get carried away. Previous reviewers mentioned (correctly, I think) the influences of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, The Cure, etc., but missed the most obvious one. Anyone familier with the slow, hypnotic ballads of Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry will think they are having a flashback to their college days. The vocals, the strings, even the "solo" violin work, is so reminiscent of vintage Roxy that I have to believe these guys have heard a lot of Bryan & Brian. It so blatant that it borders on plagiarism. Alas, as usual, the original is far better. While Tindersticks is essentially a one-trick pony, Roxy could not only do the evocative european art-song, they could rock with the best party bands of any era. Their songs had emotion and bite. Bryan Ferry could make you laugh and break your heart all in the same line. If you don't believe me, I recommend "For Your Pleasure", "Stranded", "Country Life", and "Siren". Listen to any of these albums and be amazed at how far ahead of their time these guys were. Viva Roxy!
on February 7, 2000
It's a dinner party...for two. Just you...me. We have shared secrets like family. We know each other's disfunctions, and know exactly how and when to twist the knife or back away. We are comfortable together. We are uneasy in these chairs, this room. We are sleepy. We are singing. I cry, you comfort. You fall, I snicker. Cover mouth with my hand, lend the other to help you. Up. You are up. We are dancing, slowly, in this tainted ballroom glow.
I still hope that you love me, or at least that you care. You hope for forgiveness, or that at least I've forgotten. We drink like strangers, are sick like companions. Holding the other's head, scraping back the hair from faces wet with tears or sweat, slowly cooling in the stale air.
on November 18, 1999
and was just blown away... Stuart Staples has a voice like a 18 year old single-malt: The first taste is a bit too strong but something about the smooth finish left behind lets you know you've discovered something great. Once you've adjusted, you develop a passion for the stuff and no matter how much your friends and family try to intervene, you know that their efforts are in vain because they just don't understand, man! Leave me alone, I don't have a problem! I've got it under control, it's cool... Let me just listen one more time...
Fortunately for the Tindersticks, Betty Ford doesn't have a clinic to keep us from their music...
on January 3, 2000
Tindersticks master the art of musical melancholy on this beautiful album (1st LP). Sorrow, anger, and tragedy have all found their way into music, many times with moving results. Tindersticks realize that the value of making emotional music is in the emotion that it evokes. The deep, sad vocals float above often orchestral music that flows effortlessly, as if it were not written, but merely meant to be. Don't throw on this CD in the middle of your party... Save it for quality time.
on July 6, 1999
I own more than 1,000 CD's: rock, jazz, classical, blues, etc.
I have never heard a debut album this perfect. Tindersticks first album is indeed timeless. Each song rewards repeat listenings, and the album works as a narrative in a really wonderful way.
The instrumentation and lyrics are as creative and powerful as any album ever released. The sense of tension, the balance between beauty and discord is unlike anything else, and quite powerful.
on April 2, 2003
I keep imagining the singer has long black hair like Ian Astbury from the Cult or the evil dude in the Crow. (I've never seen him) It is a dark, beautiful album which resonates raw lust, love, and pain...BR>she said ,"oh, a sweet,sweet man like you...what can I do for you?"
i said ,"a sweet,sweet man like me...I can only bring you misery..."