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Baker's Dozen

True Pairings: Tom Fleming's 13 Favourite Albums
Ben Hewitt , September 25th, 2019 12:16

Former Wild Beast Tom Fleming, who's just released his excellent debut album as One True Pairing, picks the 13 records that shaped him, from Tool and Def Leppard to Scott Walker and Joanna Newsom


Scott Walker – Tilt

Speaking of doing some work! I started with Scott 3 and Scott 4 which are great as well and I almost put on this list, but it just felt dishonest not to mention Tilt. It’s like a crazy West End musical. I think he basically recorded it with very little compression, if not none, which sounds quite technical but just means that everything sounds like an orchestra. I don’t think there’s a dud track here, and it rewards the listening it requires. It sounds so singular and uncool, with obtuse lyrics, but it’s so deep and involving. It’s beautiful but also challenging, and confrontational while being delicate. This came out in 1995, and what else came out in ‘95 that sounded like this? Maybe Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat...

I think the fact that he was a troubled teen idol and then made music like this makes sense, and you can tell he’s still got a bit of his crooner days in him. This is still kind of a crooner record, just the strangest one you’ll ever hear; he’s quoting the transcripts of trials in his lyrics and stuff [‘The Cockfighter’ uses excerpts from the trials of Caroline of Brunswick and Adolf Eichmann], but it’s delivered as a beautiful song. By the time you get to The Drift and he’s doing all the Donald Duck impressions and the meat-punching you’re in a different arena, whereas this is still a crooner record, and he’s still delivering arias. It’s my favourite of his albums by miles, and one of my absolute favourite records ever. It’s real deathbed stuff.