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And then there were three...cult indie darlings soldier on as trio with seventh album
on 21 April 2008
Nottingham cult band Tindersticks haven't put an album out since 2003's Waiting For the Moon, though frontman Stuart Staples passed the time with a couple of solo efforts and a major relocation to the other side of the channel. Recorded in his new French home studio, The Hungry Saw features a slimmed-down lineup consisting of Staples and other founder members Neil Fraser on guitar and David Boulter on keyboards. Augmented by hired hands, the core trio has produced an album that's pleasingly coherent in both tone and mood.
The atmosphere here is predominantly retro, feeding off the same fascination with the 50s and early 60s as evidently fuelled the younger Bryan Ferry. Staples has a Ferry-ish feel to his voice, too, and both favour a slightly mannered delivery pointed up by the retro touches - the spoken word melodrama on final track "The Turns We Took", the lounge-suit grand guignol of "The Hungry Saw" - a kind of "First Cut Is the Deepest" with added mythology.
Like 50s-obsessed magic realist movies Pleasantville and The Truman Show, the album is also suffused with plaintive melancholy, a kind of yearning for some unspecified lost innocence. It's most plainly expressed in the mysterious "Boobar Come Back To Me" and in the haunted "Mother Dear" which seems to beg for a return to the certainties of childhood. Elsewhere there are whirling instrumentals like the gorgeous "The Organist Entertains".
Like so many purveyors of past glories remerging right now, Tindersticks look set for a major return to form. Let's hope it catches fire.