Album Reviews

Looking Back: Tindersticks – Curtains

Looking Back: Tindersticks – Curtains
by Killian Laher

The funny thing about Tindersticks third album, Curtains (released in 1997) is that on paper it was everything a fan hoped for.  An even more distilled version of Tindersticks, no random interludes, very few noisy portions.  But something about it kept me at arm’s length.

There’s very little wrong with the songs here.  Another Night In opens up the album, a clever reference back to their second album.  Rented Room features Spanish guitars and a devil-may-care attitude, lyrics about how “we go fuck in the bathroom” added to this.  There are great pleading ballads (Don’t Look Down, Let’s Pretend and Are You Trying To Fall In Love Again),  complete with dramatic strings.  Also, there is the gorgeously spaced-out Dick’s Slow Song, Dancing (you never will to this one!) and closing track Walking.  The Fast One is the one moment of harshness here, fast-paced with discordant music, for me, it interrupts the flow.  At the other end of the spectrum are the muted jauntiness of Desperate Man and the downright weirdness of Bearsuit.  The muted, shimmering I Was Your Man is a late album highlight.

I think the bottom line is they didn’t really go anywhere new on this album.  There are great songs here, but none quite as strong as the first two albums.  The spoken word track here, The Ballad of Tindersticks feels not quite as good as My Sister.  The duet Buried Bones, featuring Ann Magnuson is again, not quite as good as Travelling Light, though it’s pretty great in its own way.  They would change the formula after this album…


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3 replies »

    • I remember buying this album and thinking, after the first three songs, that I would never need to listen to another album again. First 3 songs are stunning, beautiful……close to perfection, in my opinion. I do think the whole album is brilliant, but those first 3 songs…….wow! “Dancing,” “Let’s Pretend,” “I was Your Man,” “Buried Bones,” are other highlights for me, but I love the whole album. Also, the lyrics and the orchestration just made it so different to what was happening at the time, which adds to its quality.

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