The Real Tuesday Weld, Spitz, London

The swinging sound of pinstripes, cravats - and samplers
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The Independent Culture

The Real Tuesday Weld is a modern antiquarian. Bolton-bred, Clerkenwell-dwelling Stephen Coates is an urban romantic (the recording alias, borrowing the name of a culty, second-rung Hollywood actress, came to him in a dream), who hears film scores in his footsteps, and lives his life in epigrams ("my heart is an exit wound").

The Real Tuesday Weld is a modern antiquarian. Bolton-bred, Clerkenwell-dwelling Stephen Coates is an urban romantic (the recording alias, borrowing the name of a culty, second-rung Hollywood actress, came to him in a dream), who hears film scores in his footsteps, and lives his life in epigrams ("my heart is an exit wound").

He has made an album, I Lucifer, which captures the romance of a bygone, inter-war age. A mix of Dixieland and Charleston, skiffle, jazz and swing, camouflaged by smudges of ambient sound (the falling rain, the crackle of a gramophone needle on a bakelite 78), it's inescapably nostalgic, but - given that it begins by depicting the debris of a break-up ("cuddly toy drawn and quartered...") - it's far from rose-tinted.

Coates never planned to perform the record live but, spurred by a couple of film soundtrack performances at the National Film Theatre, and the use of one of his songs in a Lucozade ad, he's come out of his shell.

Well, partly. Hidden behind dark glasses, he stands behind an Akai sampler on a crimson-draped lectern, flanked by a modern jazz quintet who play a viola, a Gretsch, an acoustic bass, and a minimal drumkit with brushes, while footage of pugilists and prisoners plays on a screen.

They look suitably suave: pinstripes, cravats and cheekbones are all present and correct, and guitarist Clive Painter has a whiff of Jean Reno about him. A French reference is apposite: Coates has recorded an alternate Francophone version of Gainsbourg song "The Ugly And The Beautiful", which contains a line ("Love's the only drug that makes the ugly beautiful") that references both Roxy Music and Jean Cocteau.

Valid comparisons are the sly, sinister whispers of Black Box Recorder and the inscrutable period-pieces of Combustible Edison, but TRTW doesn't deserve to be filed in anyone else's sub-category.

The vintage-looking brooch on the breast of Stephen's jacket turns out, upon closer inspection, to be from River Island, a low-budget artefact from the modern world, evocative of a more elegant age. A perfect metaphor for The Real Tuesday Weld. SP

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