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Tindersticks - Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009

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Artist: Tindersticks

Album: Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009

Label: Constellation

Review date: Apr. 25, 2011

The way things are going, seedees and elpees, as physical objects, will eventually become less music-delivery devices and more fetishized collectables. As for the question of whether having fresh-smelling physical albums is a cool thing or whether accumulating stuff is counterrevolutionary, I’ll leave it to those with the requisite patience. But I will say this. If you still dig the object, Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009, a sprawling five-disc box set from the smartly dressed U.K. orch-pop outfit Tindersticks, may be the coffee-table release of the year.

Despite the steadily resurgent interest in the early work of Scott Walker, Tindersticks remains very much a cult phenom. That’s a shame, as the Sticks are his closest descendents, and this set will do little to rectify it. It bellows, “Fans only.”

To the casual observer, the band’s soundtrack work always looked like a lucrative side gig. It began with Nenette Et Boni in 1996, probably peaking in popularity with 2001’s gorgeous Trouble Every Day (which reaped the benefits of a Vince Gallo association) and continuing through what looked like the band’s demise in the late aughties. And, for completists and anyone else paying attention, it is the most expansive and rewarding route to the band’s elaborate genius. Hearing the complex, brittle figures and dense mood-setters here, it’s much easier to understand why even the band’s simplest, purdiest pop ballads (try “All the Love,” from 2008’s stripped-down heartbreaker The Hungry Saw) sound so damned intricate, so damned one-of-a-kind beautiful.

The first-brush highlights here are, not surprisingly, the theme songs. “Trouble Every Day” ranks with the Sticks’ greatest hits and provides the perfect on-ramp for the non-initiate. Vocalist Stuart A. Staples’ detached baritone is as gruff and haunting as it gets, and the hooks are just everywhere.

The set includes gorgeous stills and revealing essays about the films, the music and their sometimes-difficult relationship. And the whole thing smells extra crisp.

By Emerson Dameron

Other Reviews of Tindersticks

Trouble Everyday

Waiting for the Moon

The Hungry Saw

Falling Down a Mountain

The Something Rain

Read More

View all articles by Emerson Dameron

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