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It’s occasionally tempting to dismiss England’s Tindersticks as a bunch of dour stuffed shirts. But if you allow the sextet’s second album–called Tindersticks, like their debut–to sink in, their originality and sweeping vision become clear. The dark, quavery vocals of front man Stuart Staples evoke the emotional torpor of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen without their self-pity. During the lengthy, disturbing “My Sister,” the narrator’s bored spoken vocals are set against an incongruous breezy backing as he tells the story of his sister’s ruined life. Their music, called cinematic in the past, here displays obvious Ennio Morricone and John Barry influences on the thrilling instrumentals “Vertrauen II” and “Vertrauen III,” whose instrumentation–guitars, organ, zither, accordion, violin, drums, bass–enables them to avoid predictable rock impulses. The new album–as well as a terrific new import-only live recording, The Bloomsbury Theatre 12.3.95–masterfully integrates a full string section and plenty of horns into their songs. Their music tends to be extremely low energy, but its distinctive arrangements and consistently original structures allow a quiet drama to supplant volume and move-

ment. Wednesday, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 489-3160.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Phil Nicholls.