Saturday July 11, 2020

Too much hindsight at work in dark study of a cult hero

Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith by William Todd Schultz, Bloomsbury, €18.90. Reviewed by Niall Crumlish.

27th October, 2013
Elliott Smith in 2003. the year of his death. Photo: Getty

Timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Elliott Smith's death, Torment Saint is a sombre and ultimately unsatisfying biography of the tragic, loved cult American musician.

Nominated for an Oscar for his contribution to the soundtrack of Good Will Hunting, Elliott Smith left behind him five successful solo albums, a couple of which, 1997's Either/Or and 1998's XO, are essentially perfect. He had almost completed his sixth, the nerve-jangling From a Basement on a...

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