No Hits 1.16.06
Summer was fading before it began
Those storm clouds are growing, they know who I am
Lock all your windows, try to stay in
There's thunder and lightning all over my skin.
If Tompaulin began life as a twee pop band that drew comparisons to Belle & Sebastian, it isn't any longer. The opening track of their appropriately titled 2005 album Into The Black (US, UK) is a dark and sensuous slow burner about a dying relationship that owes more to American roots music than the C86 scene. The first part of the song is little more than Stacey McKenna's bare, hypnotic voice backed by banjo, guitar and simple percussion. Then at approximately the halfway mark, it unfurls like some deep red, autumnal flower, the banjo quickens to a gallop, the guitars explode in fuzz and feedback, McKenna opens up with intensity and emotion as she intones, On your skin, on your skin.
McKenna's voice bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval, and interestingly enough, she duets with Jesus and Mary Chain's Jim Reid (as Sandoval once did) on one of the album's tracks, "Seams," a woozy, country dirge. The rest of the album is as good or better, as she trades vocal duties with guitarist Jim Holman and the band explores various shades of romantic failure and ordinary despair with textured instrumentation (just to give you an idea, The Clientele's Alasdair McLean shows up on one track playing lapsteel). Optimistic it ain't. But as far as heartbreak, bruises and things falling apart go, Into The Black is gorgeous.
Seams - Tompaulin
Sometimes Always - The Jesus and Mary Chain (with Hope Sandoval)