Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They have not fallen down that mountain too far., 25 Feb 2010
This review is from: Falling Down A Mountain (Audio CD)
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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