Given that Tarnation's frontwoman Paula Frazer is best known for her work with the L.A. post-punk band Frightwig -- and since Gentle Creatures is, after all, a product of the arty 4AD label -- the absolute-torch-and-twang authenticity that defines the record is a wonderful surprise; ethereal yet earthy, the album's strength derives from all of its seeming contradictions. Powered by Frazer's deft songwriting and smoky vocals, Gentle Creatures is melancholy and gorgeous, its love songs and ballads cloaked in reverb and gothic imagery. What Tarnation shares with its 4AD stablemates is an uncanny knack to build and maintain a rich, dense atmosphere; the record is dusky and otherworldly, haunted by the spirits of failed relationships, late-night radio transmissions, and other ghostly presences.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny