Elliott Smith Roman Candle

Elliott Smith Roman Candle
Released way back in 1994, Roman Candle was the world's introduction to Elliot Smith. Unfortunately, most of the world was more concerned with other matters, and the record went pretty much unnoticed outside of Smith's hometown of Portland, OR. But while it would take three more years for the rest of us to stand up and take notice, all the elements of Smith's sound were in place on his debut, originally issued on the tiny Cavity Research label, now a remastered re-release through Kill Rock Stars. Most prevalent are his distinctive, whispered, double -tracked vocals, sounding so sad and alone, even back then ― just picture the man in the white suit at the Oscars playing any one of these nine tracks. Smith's Nick Drake-inspired guitar playing and songwriting would improve greatly as he came into his own on follow-ups Elliott Smith and Either/Or, and expand his sound on his two major label forays. As always, it's difficult to listen to Smith's music without the spectre of his gruesome, untimely death rearing its head. Instead, try and focus on the naïve charm of a songwriter still finding his way with these stark, fantastic tunes. (Kill Rock Stars)