Tindersticks

Tindersticks [II]

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Tindersticks' second consecutive, eponymously titled double-LP set refines the approach of their debut; while every bit as ambitious and adventuresome, it achieves an even greater musical balance, stretching into luxuriously long compositional structures and more intricate arrangements. While Stuart Staples' songs remain as obsessive and haunted as before, he wards off his demons with fits of pitch-black humor (the narrative "My Sister") and a more tender perspective; similarly, while his funereal vocals remain the focus, there's a new reliance on extended instrumental passages, and even a pair of duets (the centerpiece, "Travelling Light" -- a gorgeous collaboration with the Walkabouts' Carla Torgerson -- is akin to a Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra record trapped in emotional purgatory). Another awesome triumph of mood and atmosphere.

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