Over the past decade, music historian and pop doyen Bob Stanley has curated a series of compilations for imaginary places. These compilations have tended to explore music of eras long past, allowing for a brilliant slice of life. Stanley has taken listeners to fictional cafes, pubs, nightclubs and delis, as well as Central Park and London’s shopping districts. For his latest installment, Stanley broke with the formula and created a more modern collection. Tim Peaks: Songs From A Late-Night Diner finds Stanley joined by Tim Burgess to assist him. The musical setting is a bit more fluid, and the material a bit more generalized, offering an international mix of songs from the post-punk era to the present day.
Tim Peaks is dark and gray; a little cold, a little melancholic. Factory Records is very much an influence; unsurprising, as the label is represented with songs by The Durutti Column (“Lips That Would Kiss”), Royal Family & The Poor (“I Love You (Restrained By The Moment)”), and Stockholm Monsters (“Fairy Tales”). Non-Factory Records Post-punk mainstays The Blue Orchids and Echo & The Bunnynmen also appear here. The Clientele’s fine “I Had To Say This” and The Fates’ “Sheila, She Beats In My Heart” carry forward the legacy of Felt. But Tim Peaks isn’t all gloom and doom; ISAN‘s gentle electronica (“Betty’s Lament”) and the jazzy pop of Birdie (“Blue Dress”) and El Perro Del Mar (“Dog”) help break the melancholy.
Then again, one expects nothing less than total coolness from Bob Stanley. May the New Year bring us more trips to charming imaginary places, because Tim Peaks is a fantastic little restaurant.
Purchase Tim Burgess & Bob Stanley Present Tim Peaks: Songs From A Late-Night Diner: Amazon / Ace Records