Uniquely among bands with even a tangential connection to pop, the passage of time and the number of records of theirs you may already own are pretty much irrelevant when sizing up the appeal of Can Our Love...
, the fifth album from the decade-old Tindersticks. Partly, it's because this lot, who seem to have sprung fully-formed from the concentrated essence of French art house film, also appear to have spent their youths waiting for middle age to arrive. Mostly though, it's because the unswerving continuity of their work--chiefly remarkable for single-digit BPMs, a bone-dry, Eeyore-ish sense of humour (doubtless not unconnected to their fascination with donkeys) and a luxuriant air of weltschmertz
and any other foreign words which cover the black-and-white waterfront of romantic desolation where string sections, shabby-sharp suits and Gauloises are de rigueur
--suggests that each Tindersticks album is merely a small corner of a canvas the size of, well, life and love and loss. Once again then you get what you came to swoon for. The dusty Hazlewood
-esque intro prefacing Stuart Staples' forlorn, chocolaty mumbles ("dying slowly seems better than shooting myself"). "Don't Ever Get Tired", aching with hope and tender-heartedness. The interwoven vocal lines of "Chilitetime"; the intimate, Cohen
-esque voiceover of "No Man In The World". And we get a little bit more, too: namely the suspicion, on hearing the Hammond-shivering, Bobby Womack
-drifting-through-molasses seduction of "People Keep Comin' Around" and "Sweet Release", that if Tindersticks have shifted position at all, it's in a slow, elegant sidle toward the spot marked "England's greatest soul band". --Jennifer Nine