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on 25 January 2010
A new Tindersticks album is always a cause for joy, even thought that emotion is hard to find in the music itself. This album is sufficiently different to please all Tindersticks fans, whilst still having the essential Tindersticks elements, dark mood, great musicianship, and of course Stuart A Staples' brooding voice. A suprise element is the appearance of Mary Margaret O'Hara, Miss America herself, on "Peanuts" which is not yer average Tindersticks offering, at least lyricwise. The opening title track has a wonderful jazzy opening, which grabs the interest from the start. That interest is held all the way through a fine album. Welcome back guys!
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2010
I have neglected the Tindersticks .Taken their moody mellifluous magnificence for granted .In short I had stopped buying their albums .The Hungry Saw and Waiting for the Moon are things in name only to me .Why this is , I don't know .It just happens with bands for me sometimes . I haven't listened to an REM album since Up and I couldn't envisage ever not buying an REM album for most of my adult life till that point. Same with the Tinder sticks ,especially true considering how much their first two albums mean to me but for whatever reason decided I could do without anymore Tindersticks in my life......until now.
Album number eight in total, Falling Down A Mountain is blessed with an array of venerated guest appearances and is also the first Tindersticks recording to feature the extended five-piece line-up that sees drummer Earl Harvin and fellow singer/songwriter David Kitt on guitar team up with long time mainstays Staples, Neil Fraser and David Boulter. One of those guests, renowned trumpet player Terry Edwards, characterizes the title track's subdued build up by way of a free -form jazzy solo that culminates in Staples typically monasyballic mumbled vocal that my other half likened to a tramp eating a packet of bon bons all at once.
Staples voice is usually the determining factor as to whether listeners fall for this band or not. I love his voice .You get the feeling ....well that's it really ....you get that Staples actually genuinely lives and breathes what he sings .It sounds resolutely genuine .Whereas someone like Will Young, to name a popular singer of the top of my head, someone who is considered to be an accomplished vocalist just sets my teeth on edge. I don't believe a word of what comes out if his mouth .It oozes insincerity. Not Staples though.
Not that Falling Down A Mountain is more of the same from the band It is atypical in that it pushes a few new boundaries - and whilst it's not the mainstream embracing album to bring them Brit nominations ( that I would like to see ), it does mark a newfound spirit of adventurousness and a certain tendency towards playfulness. The duet with the mercurial Mary Margaret O'Hara "Peanuts " is just bizarre, equating as it does love with a liking for peanuts (surprise ) but the performers give it a perceptible low key gravitas. "Harmony Around My Table " allies a swinging arrangement and even poppy harmonies to a archetypal tale of woe-"I found a penny, I picked it up / The other day I had some luck / That was two weeks last Tuesday / Since then there's been a sliding feeling." "Black Smoke " has some rasping saxophone (Edwards again ) and coarse shots of guitar and is debatably the rockiest thing they have ever done.
Those craving the more sanguine and traditional Tindersticks will find velvet draped, late night solace in tracks like "Only Keep You Beautiful" , "Factory Girls", and the exquisite instrumental closer "Piano Music " which would not be out of place on one of their soundtracks albums. The tumbling mariachi strains of "She Rode Me Down " recall many moments off earlier albums.
So the band are still doing what they do. Falling Down a Mountain does, to some extent find the band veering off course or indulging in brave experimental choices. But neither does it find them veering into self parody or trite laziness. This album has slipped into my life like a pair of old comfortable slippers that I found under the bed . I didn't know I missed them that much till i put them on . Clumsy metaphors aside I'm glad I decided to check out The Tindersticks again. While not at their lugubrious peak( that would be some going considering their peaks ) this album is terrific . They have not fallen down that mountain too far. Good to have you back guys.
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on 28 January 2010
I agree with the previous reviewer that a new Tindersticks album is definitely a cause for joy, but they are wrong in suggesting this is not true for the music; there a couple of decidedly upbeat (dare one even say happy, or optimistic?) tracks. Maybe not as good as some of the classic early albums but definitely worth adding to any collection
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on 31 January 2010
Tindersticks return with yet another perfect work. This should quieten down all those naysayers about Stuart A.Staples velvet tones, and if not what do they know Tindersticks fans? It's an album that has to be listened to as a whole and not broken up on your i-pod and at around 45 minutes that is very easily and pleasurably done. From the jazz like opening through to the duet 'Peanuts'(which seems a little strange at first but after further listening sounds as it should) to the excellent 'No place so alone', with the line 'He's whisking up my eggs'then to the exquisite 'Factory Girls' which isn't everybody's fault that your sad it's the booze(in this case wine) and then to finish off,the instrumental 'Piano Music'. It's one to play very late and very alone with a wee dram to help you on your way.
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on 25 March 2010
I'm not going to be all self-indulgent and tell you about when I first discovered Tindersticks and show off about how much I know about them to give my review some credence, I will just say that Tindersticks and Stuart Staples mean a lot to me, so when a new album comes out it is an important event.
And for that reason, I was left a little cold by Falling Down a Mountain.
There have been a couple of Tindersticks albums that took a while to grow on me, and I'm sure eventually Falling Down a Mountain will fall into that category, but at the moment I have that feeling that fans of the Simpsons have - that by pressing on and producing more work, they run the risk of becoming a tired cliche of themselves. For me, there just aren't any tracks on this album that stand out - tracks that the Tindersticks of the late nineties would have been really proud of - it seems like a watered down photocopy of Tindersticks at their best. My overall feeling when I first listened to the album was that at least it makes me think a lot more of The Hungry Saw.
And yet...
This is still head and shoulders above most other new albums being released at the moment, both lyrically and in terms of using music as a true art form. I saw them live last night at Shepherds Bush Empire, and they gave the songs an energy and vision that I had missed just listening to the album.
If you are new to Tindersticks and you enjoy this album, you may find their earlier work much less accessible, but believe me it will be worth the effort.
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VINE VOICEon 25 January 2010
Tindersticks are a Marmite band, not least for the soulful and fragile deep baritone of Stuart Staples, which you either love or hate. I personally love it. Whilst Falling Down a Mountain may not win Tindersticks any new fans, it will appeal to their, shall we say, selective audience, as another chapter of a truly one-off band. They are so tailored and tasteful without even having to try too hard. This album has elements of acoustic indie-rock giving it greater contrasts of light and shade than they often shown too. A fall down a mountain but not a fall from grace.
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on 24 September 2010
The joy of Tindersticks is that even their most melancholy sounds are eventually uplifting, because of the orchestration, the rich timbre of Staples' voice, and the sophisticated rhythms.

Their first album without erstwhile violinist and all round major influence Dickon Hinchliffe (Hungry Saw) was, for me, disappointing. I got what they were doing but somehow it was too stripped down. Trying too hard to make a new statement and losing some of the melody and rhythm which is essential to the sound.

Falling Down a Mountain however is a fairly short, but quite brilliant piece of work. Fresh and familiar at the same time, and packed with classic Tindersticks goodies. Sure- its still a bit more stripped down than it used to be, but the soul is back. It has some of the soul and refrains of Simple Pleasure, the stripped down rhythms of the early albums, and also some of the expermentation of Hungry Saw.

For me this is an absolute return to form. Stuart and the gang have settled into their new lineup now, and look like going from strength to strength.
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on 20 May 2010
If love is a drug, Stuart Staples doesn't half make it sound like heroin - and I'm not just talking about `Black Smoke'. Unfortunately, his seemingly impending descent into comatose arrest is the only thing which threatens to enliven the instantly forgettable lounge-jazz-cum-elevator-music which backs his mumbling inertia for the first half of this record. Having said that, I'm genuinely enthralled by the vocal-less `Hubbard Hill', part of a better second half that goes some way to explaining why these nouvelle vag(ue)abonds still seem to retain the rub of the critical green.

Choice Cuts: `Harmony Around My Table', `Hubbard Hill'
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on 7 March 2010
Me thinks you have to be a tindersticks follower to review this. I've followed these boys in various formations from the Desert Birds, Ashphalt Ribbons and the sticks! This album is a refreshing listen which reminded me of the desert Bird stuff. Like all tindersticks music I think a few listens are required. Maybe the odd weak tune on here but, still a good listen.
Give it a whirl.
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on 27 January 2013
Stuart Staples and the crew are masterful musicians who conjure soundscapes to accompany are dreams, desires and fears. Go on listen to one of the UK's best groups in my opinion
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