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Tompaulin - Into The Black

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 17 / 1 / 2005

Tompaulin - Into The Black
Label: Track And Field
Format: CD


Long awaited, but excellent second studio album from Blackburn five piece Tompaulin, which features appearances from the he Jesus and Mary Chain's Jim Reid and Ben Lurie

Tompaulin's second studio album has been long awaited upon. And now it has arrived, it comes as something of a shock . It is not what we were expecting, but in a good way. We half expected an album that was originally going to be produced, like their last studio offering 2002 EP 'Give Me a Riot in the Summertime', by the Jesus and Mary Chain's Jim Reid and Ben Lurie to be feedback heavy. The first surprise is that it hasn't been produced by the two ex Jesus and Mary Chainers at all. It does, however, feature both Ben on guitar on several tracks and Jim on vocal duties on another. The cover itself, unlike the more flamboyant affairs of the past, is somewhat bare and naked with only a pencil sketching to grace its white cover. And so onto the album itself.... The CD opens up with 'Days Fall Away', which opens up with- surprise, surprise-banjo playing which makes a pleasant change and one not expected from the Blackburn band at all. The backing bass lines by Katie Grocott are deep and dark and are followed by a crystal clear vocal delivery from co-vocalist Stacey McKenna whose voice just gets better with age. The restrained guitar feedback under it all never gets in the way. This gets off a fine start what is already in my Top Ten albums of the year for 2005. After three minutes the track speeds up with the feedback finally kicking through. 'This Desire' follows next and is much slower. Again Stacey is in control of the vocal duties as she is on most of this album. The music has a heavy country feel to it, and is reminiscent of Mojave 3. 'This Desire' is heartwarming and gentle and short and straight to the point. 'Promised Land' comes next and is an updating of the Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra duet and has a country flavour again. 'All the Words for Please' is one of the best songs I have ever heard. Jamie Holman's vocals are very slowly sung, as slow as a crawl. If this song doesn't do anything for you, then frankly you're not human. It is as elegant as the best work by Mark Eitzel or the Tindersticks, beautifully played, and showing that Tompaulin do still have surprises up their sleeves. 'Useless' is sung as a duet between Jamie and Stacey. The song is very sad and slow and shows both sides of an unhappy relationship. Jamie's vocals are self disgusted and self loathing while Stacey with her vocals shows all that Jamie has promised and has failed to deliver upon , but also that she is prepared to live with it. '3 in the Morning' is as gentle as anything by Nick Drake, and once more is sung as a joint vocal and has a Mojave 3 feel. 'Always Winter' is uplifting and elegant, and somewhat trippy in a spaced out way, while 'Brave' has crystal clear elegant vocals which are sung in a sad and confessional style. The music on 'There's a Name It Hurts to Say' gracefully backs Stacey's rich and golden vocal line which finds her singing about love and loss. 'Seams' is as strong a song as Lee and Nancy's 'Some Velvet Morning' and this time features a duet between Stacey and Jim Reid. Again it is life reflecting, heartbreaking and refreshilngly honest. 'Into the Black' ends with "When the Night Comes like a Thief,' which is as slow and graceful as much of the rest of the album. To sum it up this is not the album I was expecting at all. It is somewhat mainstream compared to previous Tompaulin releases, but is nevertheless one great record. At this time of the year we need something to believe in and to keep our feet grounded and in the real world we all live in. Without any false lies the real world can be a good place to stay. Thank you, Tompaulin. 'Into the Black' is a damned fine record.

Track Listing:-
1 Days Fall Away
2 This Desire
3 Promised Land
4 All The Words For Please
5 Useless
6 3 In The Morning
7 Always Winter
8 Brave
9 There's A Name It Hurts To Say
10 Seams
11 When The Night Comes Like A Thief

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Interview (2002)
Tompaulin - Interview
Tompaulin's new single was produced by former Jesus and Mary Chain stars, Jim Reid and Ben Lurie. Anthony Strutt chats to frontman Jamie Holman and guitarist Tap about its recording, side project Mick Travis and their eventual second album
Interview (2002)


Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt (2004)
Enjoyable second album from Blackburn-based indiepop group, Tompaulin, that collects together tracks from all their singles to date
Give Me A Riot In The Summer Time (2002)
Slender (2001)

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