Tindersticks were one of the most original and distinctive British acts of the '90s, standing apart from both the British indie scene and the rash of Brit-pop guitar combos that dominated the U.K. charts. Where their contemporaries were often direct and to the point, Tindersticks were obtuse and leisurely, crafting dense, difficult songs layered with literary lyrics, intertwining melodies, mumbling vocals, and gently melancholy orchestrations.
Essentially, the group filtered the dark romanticism of Leonard Cohen, Ian Curtis, and Scott Walker as filtered through the bizarre pop songcraft of Lee Hazlewood and the aesthetics of indie rock. Though their music was far from casual listening, Tindersticks gained a dedicated cult following in the mid-'90s, beginning with their eponymous 1993 debut album.
"First incarnation" of Tindersticks is Asphalt Ribbons (formed in 1988).