Roman Candle, 180G Black Vinyl LP
Roman Candle, for its part, remains a fan favorite, and it contains some classic Smith songs: "Condor Ave", the title track, and "Last Call", in particular. And yet it mostly serves to point to all that Elliott would later become. It's wispier and more diffuse than his self-titled or Either/Or, and nothing here is as indelible as "Needle in the Hay", "The Biggest Lie" or "Ballad of Big Nothing". A few of the "No Name" song sketches drift in and out without leaving much of a mark-- Smith's music would become fuller, and his harmonic language more confident, on subsequent albums. The sound is there, though, unmistakable from the first note: the defeated whisper of the vocals, the deceptively intricate guitar work, and the angry little mantras ("leave alone, leave alone, 'cause you know you don't belong here"). From these beginnings, Smith would experiment with how much he could add to this framework without crushing it.