14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Something Rain (Audio CD)
It takes a certain perversity to open an album with the lugubrious 9 minute spoken word "Chocolate" especially when so many subsequent tracks would have made ideal openers. Even the Velvet Underground sequenced "The Gift" after the eponymous, uptempo, title track on "White Light White Heat". Perhaps the Tindersticks think, possibly rightly, that the majority of those who purchase and listen to "The Something Rain" will be die-hard fans (and I, for one, cannot believe it is over 18 years since I played the band's debut relentlessly in my first term at university) and who will be unconcerned with the consequences. "Chocolate" has variously delighted and left non-plussed critics and, while I think it is a compelling listen once the opening lo-fi repeated chord strums cease, it is simply not the best way to introduce or shape an album.
Thereafter, proverbial monkey off their back, the Tindersticks demonstrate their mastery of their art, whether one calls it "noir bossa-nova", "existential easy listening" or countless other amusing epithets bandied around in the last week. For me though, on tracks like "Slippin' Shoes", they simply confirm their status as the best British soul band since Dexys Midnight Runners. For those previously divided by Stuart Staples' baroque croon, it is not nearly as theatrical as previously (save, perhaps, for "A Night So Still") and simply amounts to an integral part of the band's overall sound.
And so, in answer to the ultimate question as to whether I would recommend this, the answer is "yes" for while the Tindersticks do not exactly break new ground this is a worthy addition to their impressive catalogue, as suitable as any introduction for the curious (sequencing excepted) and very simply something rather good indeed.