I’m off to see Tindersticks tonight. It will be my first gig in a while. I hope it’s good. They generally put on a great live performance, but I didn’t enjoy the new album as much as I’d hoped I would. I’ll listen to it later and try and get into it.
Sorry this site hasn’t been working the last couple of days. You should now be able to read the reviews ok without any ugly error messages.
Scott Walker: 'The Moviegoer' (LP; Contour; 1972)
This is a very special Scott album to me. Scott chooses some of his favorite songs from films, and comes up with a list including titles by Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin, John Barry and Michel Legrand. Not only was the guy a genius, he had great taste as well... Perhaps due to the nature of the material, Scott sounds more like a Sinatra-like crooner on this album than on his earlier solo albums, and this doesn't deliver quite the solid genius I was hoping for. There are a couple of country styled tracks which don't appeal to me that much. Overall, it's still very enjoyable though.
The opener is a great vocal version of John Barry's brilliant 'This way Mary'. The only other vocal version I know of is by Matt Monroe, and Scott's version, a moody, heartfelt piece with strings, surpasses this. The mood is similar on 'Come Saturday Morning'; the string arrangements are wonderful, and sound like they could have come from any of Scott's late 60s solo sessions. Other highlights are 'Loss of Love' from Mancini's 'Sunflower' score, Morricone's 'the ballad of Sacco and Vanetti' ( wish Scott had sung more Morricone stuff...) and 'That night' from Lalo Schifrin's 'The Fox'.
Tindersticks: 'Can our love...' (CD; Beggars Banquet; 2001)
This is a pleasant enough album, but immediately, it appeals to me slightly less than 1999's 'simple pleasure'; the production is a little less smooth and to my taste. Some of the songs are a little over-long, but it's still nice dark, meditative pop. My favorite tracks are 'dyin slowly', 'sweet release', 'chilitetime' and 'don't ever get tired', but my main feeling on first/second listen is just of indifference. It's not bad, and it's not good...
Probably my least favorite track is 'people keep comin around', an overlong, and slightly monotonous piece. I've heard those simple violin parts in so many Tindersticks songs now that I've grown tired of them. 'tricklin' is a short experimental piece. I'm really not one to talk after my crappy 'Impossible Music' album, but this ends up coming across as lazy filler material, particularly next to some of the great songs they've written. 'Can our love...' is pleasant enough, with a funny twangy effect on the guitar. The song showcases the soulful mood of Tindersticks again - it's simple, slow and quite charming, with backing vocals and a repetitive chorus. 'Sweet Release' has a great blend of acoustic guitar, organ, violin and vocals, and is pretty cool, in spite of its repetition and 9 minute length. Still, I think I might make myself a 'radio edit'; the song doesn't really do anything special to justify that length. 'Don't ever get tired' is a bit more like it at 3:07. It's charming, if unremarkable, sounding quite a lot like the band's early work. 'no man in the world' opens with the singer Stuart doing some talking. This never works well for me, just because frankly I don't think he sounds very cool. Sorry to be fickle, but I'm very big on talking in songs (my personal favorite song-talkers are Julian Cope ('jellypop perky jean', Nick Cave ('foi na cruz'), even Skeeter Davis ('the end of the world')). Stuart just doesn't quite cut it. To be fair though, it turns into a nice song. The final song, 'chilitetime', opens promisingly, with organ and a cool electric guitar. It soon relapses into the same pattern as most of the rest of the album though - repetition, long songs, nice instrumentation, very simple chords. I'm afraid that after listening to this album I feel similar to how I felt after hearing Nick Cave's 'The Boatman's Call' - it's nice enough, but not interesting enough musically to really sustain my interest.