I've tried to give this album every chance, but in the end its a disappointment. I'm a long time fan of Tindersticks, have (and adore) all their albums and have seen them play. I was thrilled to see a return to making music as a band, even without Dickon Hincliffe et al.
With this album, the three remaining members of the band have gone for a stripped down sound, trying to take the band back to its essence. To a large extent they have suceeded in that goal- the sound is unmistakably Tindersticks, whilst being less smooth and polished, and less layered. I make no criticism of the sound- it is an artistic choice, and a valid one.
However, in stripping down the sound, they have lost something else which is equally important- they have stripped down the sense of rhythm and melody which is so fundamental to the band's songs. There are fragments of melody and rhythm here and there which hint at something greater, but then that instinct to strip the sound back, seems to have choked the melodies at the point of creation. This leaves occasional short evocative lines and sounds, which then frustrate because they dont go where an ear attuned to Tindersticks is wanting them to go.
We get a plodding, introspective (perhaps self indulgent?) Tindersticks album which never really takes off. The overall sound and melancholia is there, but the songs just arent.
Ive listened to the album to and from work in the car since its release, and still cannot fall in love with it. Indeed, I would struggle (sitting here typing) to recall a single melody or song. This may reward repeat listening but seasoned fans should approach with some caution.