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    tindersticks working for the man bloomsbury theatre waiting for the moon tindersticks II

    Tindersticks( 1993 )
    Nectar / Tyed / Sweet Sweet Man Pt 1 / Whiskey & Water / Blood / City Sickness / Patchwork / Marbles / The Walt Blues / Milky Teeth / Pt Two / Jism / Piano Song / Tie Dye / Raindrops / Pt Three / Her / Tea Stain / Drunk Tank / Paco De Renaldos Dream / The Not Knowing

    Tindersticks were formed from the ashes ( ha! ) of Nottingham group Asphalt Ribbons. The core of the group is Stuart Staples ( mumbling vocals ), David Boulter and Dickon Hinchcliffe. Add another guitar player, a bass player and a drummer and there you have it. What do they sound like? Well, I've already referred to singer Stuart Staples as 'mumbling'. It's a comment many first time listeners make upon hearing the group. Personally speaking, if he really is mumbling, how come I make out every single word he's saying? An accurate, but infinitely more frightening comparison was made by a friend of mine. He said the singer reminded him of Roland Gift, of The Fine Young Cannibals. Hmmm. No, don't go! Please! Stuart isn't exactly like that at all. Slow down Roland Gift, make his voice ten times deeper, richer and melancholic.... then imagine. You'd get Stuart Staples of Tindersticks! Well, almost. Add in guitar, a string section, a penchant for soulful, emotional music - and you'll have a fair idea of what Tindersticks ( the band and the album ) has in store for you. Releasing a twenty one track ( twenty two on vinyl ) debut album is a bold thing to do. Potentially disastrous. Thankfully, it's nearly always brilliant.

    'Nectar' has softly chiming guitars and Stuarts distinctive vocals but it's really made by the string section that comes in for what I suppose is the chorus. That's not meant to sound disparaging. Tindersticks are not a group that do too many obvious things across this album. It came out of the blue with few precedents. Nobody else sounded like this in 1993. It was assumed fans of Nick Cave would also like The Tindersticks. But, this was 1993, remember? Nick was still fiery and loud and demonic. The fact that Nick Cave fans DID like Tindersticks is just one of those things :) Well, they may have responded to the lyrics, the feel of the music. The moving from quiet to loud all through the startling 'Tyed'. 'Whiskey And Water' opens with violin mixed in with guitars and a rumbling bass. The slow, stone cold beauty that is 'Blood' follows. The vocals here are most certainly tugging at your heart-strings, not something 'She Drives Me Crazy' by The Fine Young Cannibals was ever likely to do! Ok, ok. I'll stop it now :) AND! AND! 'City Sickness' almost sounds like a pop song! What's going on? Variety? Yes, sir. The lyrics are gold for those of the romantically depressed frame of mind. The music is gold, for everyone. The strings, soaring upwards and across the guitars. A melodic bass hidden beneath those two parts, pushing the rhythm forwards as it's meant to. A fantastic song! And, another great song with the charmingly lilting guitars of 'Patchwork'. The truly stupendous, stop dead in your tracks sound of 'Marbles'. An organ figure repeats through the song. A different and utterly captivating guitar figure repeats through the song. Stuart tells a poetic, beautiful story, half singing-half speaking. It's lo-fi, and utterly suited to being so. 'You knew you'd lost as soon as you saw her, you saw your life as a series of complicated dance steps.....' and then? A gorgeous move upwards from Stuart, soft and tender. Like a lover cooing and blowing softly in your ear.

    'The Walt Blues' and the strangely beautiful but split into three short fragments 'Sweet Sweet Man' add atmosphere to an already atmospheric record. 'Milky Teeth' is a rockier number, the guitars thrashing and the violin creating dissonance over the top. 'Jism' relies on a bass line to keep you listening through its six minute length. The organ is truly lovely, Stuart sounds suitably mysterious, and there you have it. Another wonder, another song that makes you wonder 'how did they do this?'. 'Piano Song' with it's wonderful opening line, 'Shut up, I'm thinking....' - which moves onto very pretty guitar work. Deadly romantic. Um, 'Tie-Dye' has its title may or may not suggest is a different version of 'Tyed'. Ok, so it doesn't suggest that. But, a different version of 'Tyed' it is. Filler? Well, it's here, and 'Raindrops' is next - and it helps the flow of the record. 'Raindrops' just happens to be both one of the most beautiful, and also one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. And, I've heard Morrissey! I've heard Nick Drake, Nick Cave. I've heard The Spice Girls! Ok, sorry. Couldn't resist! The thing is, being serious once more - 'sad songs' often get flack. Do you have to be 'sad' or 'depressed' to enjoy listening to this? Of course not. It contains truly beautiful Piano parts, the music is so well constructed and put together. The lyrics are truly fabulous whatever the emotions they evoke. Being brought to tears of both sadness and joy, through one six minute song - unprovoked by anybody, any person or outside influences.....just the sound of the music, the vocals, the combination of instruments. And we still have the gorgeous 'The Not Knowing' to come, the more explosive and slightly Spanish 'Her'. We have a near perfect album. It may not be for everyone, but it could be for everyone. It's a beautiful piece of art.

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    Stephen Murphy writeme@stephenmurphy.com
    Hmm. What is good here is very very good (Raindrops, City Sickness etc) but does it work as an album? I got into this 4th (after II, Curtains and Simple Pleasure) and find the broken biscuits approach (a 'sticks title, non?) a bit offputting. A sweet, sweet man should just be a single effing song, shouldn't it? And what is Tyed all about? You also get remnants of the jangle of Asphalt Ribbons in Nectar which just doesn't sit with the rest of the catalogue. They sound like early Beatles, which is fine if you're not the Tindersticks. maybe if I'd bought this the day it came out and dicovered the sticks at the same time, I would have been bowled over but it remains a bit of a patchy grower for me, with hilights (Jism, Whisky and water, Drunk Tank) I couldn't live without. Worth the cover price for Raindrops, hands down. The sound, I feel, of the Tindersticks becoming the Tindersticks.

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    Tindersticks( 1995 )
    El Diablo En El Ojo / A Night In / My Sister / Tiny Tears / Snowy In F# Minor / Seaweed / Vertrauen II / Talk To Me / No More Affairs / Singing / Travelling Light / Cherry Blossoms / She's Gone / Mistakes / Vertrauen III / Sleepy Song

    A second Tindersticks album. And, what's it called? Well, Tindersticks of course! Just like the first. Ah, they could at least have called it 'Tindersticks 2' or something! Oh well. It doesn't matter really, so onwards we proceed. The production here is slightly richer than the debut and the strings more ambitious and prominent. Some of the songs are made entirely by their string arrangements. The opening 'El Diablo En El Ojo' is all string arrangements amid quiet mysterious vocals. The strings explode, violins everywhere, in the air - feeling sick. It's a striking opener. Bass opens 'A Night In' which is the kind of song someone should really make a Television drama out of. Having said that..... we reach 'My Sister'. Stuart doesn't so much sing as speak through an eight minute long song. Well, it's a story. The music is gorgeous atmospheric groove with great percussion. The story is wonderfully dark, from the underbelly of something. 'Tiny Tears' especially benefits from a superlative, stupendously effective and romantic string arrangement. This is music as lush as you can imagine if you happen to be drinking in a dark, back-street bar somewhere. Mentions of 'melancholy smiles' surround the soaring strings and everything is wonderful. Tiny tears make up an ocean.

    We're on our way to a classic follow-up, but for the fact many songs here lack the conviction of the opening cuts. 'Snowy In F# Minor' does introduce some much needed variety being a semi kind of Spanish guitar jig that so enlivened their debut. We have too many slow songs. Each taken individually can be seen as beautiful. 'Talk To Me' is good. It shares a slightly 'sick' string arrangement with 'El Diablo En El Ojo'. 'No More Affairs' meanwhile is just stone cold gorgeous. Like a last ever dance.... 'Travelling Light' is a country duet between Stuart and a singer called Carla Torgeson and it's ok. 'Cherry Blossoms' repeats the mumbled story-telling of 'My Sister' over a slow, pretty Piano pattern. 'She's Gone' and 'Mistakes' are more songs flying off a cliffs edge into the darkness....

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    Michael Plater michaelplater@hotmail.com
    I personally think this is the best Tindersticks album. It probably doesn't contain as many great songs as the first one, but it hangs together much better as a "complete" album. The first album, for all it's brilliance, doesn't really flow at all, it sometimes sounds like a bunch of songs thrown together randomly. The second album also contains the finest ever Tindersticks moment: "Travelling Light," a country duet worthy of Nancy and Lee. By the way, you're right about the Roland Gift thing - try listening to Stuart's vocal on Simple Pleasure's "Before You Close Your Eyes" and not be reminded of that "Johnny Come Home" song.

    Stephen Murphy writeme@stephenmurphy.com
    Travelling Light, ok? Come on Ade? You're eating your words now, surely. I couldn't live without Travelling light. Those strings! And what about Mistakes? I agree that this is more a whole album than a string of demos as T1 is, however gorgeous that debut is (and It is). I adore Tindersticks and the first 3 albums are the soundtrack to my winter evenings. This is their best, though.

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    The Bloomsbury Theatre 9 ( 1995 )
    El Diablo En El Ojo / A Night In / Talk To Me / She's Gone / No More Affairs / City Sickness / Vertrauen II / Sleepy Song / Jism / Drunk Tank / Mistakes / Tiny Tears / Raindrops / For Those....

    A live set taped in March 1995 with a full orchestra in tow to provide these songs with the rich musical backing they deserve. It sounds completely magnificent, and the set-list comprises an intelligent selection of highlights from the first two albums, with one very special extra to close. And, it is exactly as I've just described it, the songs remain the same as their studio counterparts but with altogether richer string sections. The sound quality is excellent, the applause both polite AND enthusiastic. I won't be long, I'll just go through a few of the particular highlights here. 'No More Affairs' sounds as lovely as ever, even more so when the strings come in. When the strings come in, it just sounds utterly stupendous. Only 'City Sickness' is a little lacking here, not a song known for it's string arrangement in the first place - but the vocal performance here is the main reason this falls slightly flat. Stuart doesn't sing this particularly smoothly, but it's a minor quibble when everything else is performed to perfection. 'Jism' is definitely a highlight, supremely powerful as performed here and preferable to the studio version. 'Raindrops' is as beautifully sad sounding as ever, 'Tiny Tears' another song where the strings positively soar to the heavens.

    The first Tindersticks record I ever bought was a limited edition 'Marbles' 10" which has a totally wonderful dreamy song called 'For Those...' on it's b-side. When I first saw the running order for this release and saw the inclusion of 'For Those...' to say I was thrilled is an understatement. 'For Those...' is just over five minutes long, has very romantic lyrics, one of The Tindersticks best ever string arrangements ( so imagine how great it sounds performed live with a full orchestra!! ) and a swirling, evocative organ sound running all through it. The violins are magnificent, Stuarts humming has got to be some of the most beautiful humming on record I've ever heard. The violins alternate between short, sharp blasts and longer more classically romantic sequences. The organ goes round and round and the lyrics really are wonderful. Possibly my favourite ever Tindersticks song and this is a definitive reading. Until this songs appearance we just had ourselves a nice, professional live set of songs fans are already familiar with. The inclusion of 'For Those...' to close the performance was inspired, something with a little rarity value, something most fans wouldn't have heard before, but definitely an absolute gem.

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    Curtains 7 ( 1997 )
    Another Night In / Rented Rooms / Don't Look Down / Dicks Slow Song / Fast One / Ballad Of Tindersticks / Dancing / Let's Pretend / Desperate Man / Buried Bones / Bearsuit / Are You Trying To Fall In Love Again / I Was Your Man / Bathtime / Walking

    I remember it seemed a long old wait for this to come out, and being rather disappointed on initial listening. Everything seemed too obvious, that this new Tindersticks set was going to offer absolutely no surprises, and just become a reprise of past glories wrapped around ever more increasingly ambitious string arrangements to hide the fact the actual writing wasn't progressing. Further listens did nothing actually to very much alter this opinion. If judged as an album in it's own right, this repays repeated listening and has just enough to offer. 'Another Night In' has the strings going everywhere but they really do add atmosphere. The lyrics are quite hard to pick out, Stuart seems to have retreated further into himself here as if being pushed back by the ever increasingly rich musical settings. Second song 'Rented Rooms' is a wonderfully sleazy piece of lyric writing and the music moves along nicely with a return to a slightly Spanish flavoured guitar amongst the violins. 'Don't Look Down' is rather ponderous although the organ sounds nice, 'Dicks Slow Song' is rather Tindersticks by numbers and at this stage you are left wondering where exactly the good songs are coming from here, if at all. The brief violin and guitar thrash of 'Fast One' does nothing to help alter this impression, either.

    'Ballad Of Tindersticks' appears and comes across as a rather unnecessary reprise of 'My Sister' and with less interesting lyrical content into the bargain. But, salvation is at hand! The second half of the album is far more enjoyable than the first. 'Dancing' is an utterly gorgeous slower song with genuinely moving vocals and lovely guitar work. 'Let's Pretend' opens with a stunning string sequence that sends this brief song into the stratosphere for a moment, though after the initial string section and first verse the song seems rather lacking, repeating previous idea's and ending rather abruptly. 'Desperate Man' is joyous! Well, ok, it's not joyous, it's very title would suggest that! But, it is firmly tongue in cheek and hugely enjoyable, the lyrics are wonderfully put together and the very slightest of country feels to the music suits this down to the ground. 'Buried Bones' follows on from this very well, with a nice string section, very good vocals and an alternate female vocal part. 'Bearsuit' is very short and strange if still beautiful, 'Are You Trying To Fall In Love Again' and 'Bathtime' making good use of the guitars within faster, up-tempo song formats. 'I Was Your Man' has some absolutely lovely vocals and a slow, minimalistic percussion and bass led backing - the closing 'Walking' a little too quiet perhaps, a little too minimal and without strong vocals to rescue it this time, either. So, on the whole? A disappointing Tindersticks set that failed to move the group forwards, and took a couple of steps backwards with repetitions of previous idea's but with less general inspiration or passion. The album is hardly a disaster however, and still does contain some really moving songs and beautiful musical settings.

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    I agree that this is a patchy album but when it is good it is very very good. The sobbing strings of 'Another Night In' provide perfect 'dusk-and-whisky' music and I think 'Rented Rooms' must be my favourite tindersticks track by a long chalk. Joyful, moody and dour with a real adrenalin rush. Good, dirty lyrics too. I recommend the reissue with bonus disc for the incomparable and rare 'Rented Rooms - Swing Version' in which the Sticks invent Indie Jazz.

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    Simple Pleasure( 1999 )
    Can We Start Again? / If You're Looking For A Way Out / Pretty Words / From The Inside / If She's Torn / Before You Close Your Eyes / You Take This Heart Of Mine / I Know That Loving / Cf Gf

    Certain groups evolve gradually over a series of albums, rather than employ any dramatic change record to record. Here we get the closest The Tindersticks have come to any sort of dramatic change with a huge does of genuine soul music injected into The Tindersticks usual styles. Getting a dose of hand-claps for the beginning of 'Can We Start Again' is the first surprise. The second is the sheer joyous nature of the tune itself. It contrasts nicely with The Tindersticks previous dour and miserable image! The vocals are soulful, the backing vocals singing out girls names a delightful touch. 'If You're Looking For A Way Out' is a cover of an obscure soul number. Stuart Staples turns in one of best ever performances to suit the material. This is heavenly music, so beautifully played. This album is something of a throwback in the manner in which it was recorded. It was recorded and self produced, take after take of each tune, played live in the studio until they found a take they were entirely happy with. That sort of approach is rarely employed these days, but it invests every single song here with a sense of perfection. Of course, the material has got to be good in the first place. Whilst that's not a problem with the opening two songs, 'Pretty Words' seems slight and rather ponderous. 'From The Inside' is the sort of atmospheric movie score instrumental the group had done to better effect on previous records.

    'Is She's Torn' is utterly beautiful, provoking images in the brain of a late night slow dance at a northern soul disco. 'Before You Close Your Eyes' has a funky bass groove that holds the entire song together. Previous Tindersticks material wasn't generally known for the quality of it's funky grooves! 'You Take This Heart Of Mine' is a slow song too many, 'I Know That Loving' another slow song but given gospel backing vocals and inventive if subtle string orchestration. The closing 'Cf Gf' contains hard to grasp if beautifully sung Stuart Staples vocals and nice bass and piano backing. The repeated takes have obviously paid off when you consider the perfectly judged instrumental track. The album does seem to lack a little liveliness bar the opening track - and that's the main complaint. It's a little too tasteful in places for it's own good. The performances and writing are all of a generally high standard though, and the album a welcome beginning of a new kind of progression for the group. <

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    gazza gary.hessett@dpd.csa.nhs.scot.uk
    Along with can our love this is the best tindersticks album. The other 3 have their moments , a lot of moments maybe , but are hampered by the poor production. On top of the gorgeous version of "if youre looking for a way out" you have lovelorn meloncholia wrapped in arrangements that echo memphis style soul . In fact the instrumental track here sounds like booker t and ray manzarek jamming ! By the time you get to the closing double whammy of "cfgf" and " i know that loving" you can feel a band bringing it home in a way that leaves you believing in redemption . 9/10

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    Working For The Man 9 ( 2004 )
    City Sickness / Marbles / Patchwork / Her / Travelling Light / Tiny Tears / Bathtime / Another Night In / Can We Start Again / I Know That Loving / For Those / Patchwork / Milky Teeth / Joe Stumble / For Those / Benn / Fruitless / Untitled / The Bullring / Kathleen / Summat Moon / A Sweet Sweet Man / E Type Joe / Plus De Liaisons / Waiting Round You / I've Been Loving You Too Long / Here / Harry's Dilemma

    Revelation number one. Stuart Staples sounds even sexier singing in French than he does English. Yes indeed, 'Plus De Liaisons' is 'No More Affairs' sung in French. It remains utterly magnificent whatever the language. First things first though, the introducrtion. 'Working For The Man' is/was a 2cd compilation covering the bands time at Island Records. So, the first four albums plus assorted odds and ends. Tindersticks b-sides were rarely essential in truth, giving them over to short, atmospheric and inconsequential instrumentals for the most part. Yet, I still have in my posession my original 10" vinyl of the 'Marbles' single. I shall focus on this for a moment, because two important songs are taken from it. Firstly of course there's the song 'Marbles' itself. Always a wonder to me is this song. Even some fifteen years after I first purchased the single, 'Marbles' still has the ability to make all the hairs on my arms stand up straight. The guitars are woozy, the organ sound is woozy, everything is a scene through a haze and you're watching somebody else's life, trying to make sense out of the patterns. 'Marbles' is that kind of song, a song without obvious structure. It doesn't have a beginning, middle and end. It just starts and stops and it depends at which point you get on or off. The b-side to 'Marbles' was 'For Those...' still one of The Tindersticks finest moments and likely to remain so, the band being on indefinite hiatus. A single violin plays a little childs melody. A childs music box ( seemingly ) plays another childs melody. More violins enter, slightly off each other, one gently resting on top the others sound after another. I listen for the music here. The words are beautifully inconsequential, although actually superbly structured and gently, lovingly sang.

    Ah, 'Kathleen'. 'Kathleen'!!! A song born for The Tindersticks to cover some day and so it was. This cover got me into Townes Van Zandt by the way, so it did its job. If you're quick enough, the Jukebox will have this song on it. If you're reading this review after the event so it were, tough. You'll have to buy the compilation either way because 'Kathleen', ah, dear sweet 'Kathleen'. Stuart Staples voice remains a low grumble almost, resting in absolute desperation, but a resigned kind of desperation. When he sings 'Soon i'm gonna see my sweet Kathleen' you don't believe him, unless the Kathleen in question happens to be dead. Oh, did I mention the fact Tindersticks improve upon the original? The string arrangement is brilliance in itself and can be listened to alone if your ears so desire. Mine do, but the words and the voice keep bringing me back. That's 'Kathleen', released at the time as a stand-alone single, so no, it won't be on any of the groups regular albums.

    To finish off, well, you know the songs on the first CD. It works as a mini greatest hits set. I keep getting drawn back to 'Marbles' but also to 'City Sickness' and the wonder of 'Can We Start Again?', Tindersticks entering their soul phase and releasing a stunning uptempo number that completely failed to chart, of course. People will look back on The Tindersticks in years to come and wonder how such a distinctive, talented act could almost completely fail to sell records. Movie people, use their songs. Everybody, buy the albums and the stuart staples albums. Everything here is special, even those inconsequential b-sides, yes. Well, the 2nd disc is actually somewhat less essential than the first by design.

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    Gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    A super little introduction to a great band who at least had the sense to realise their time had gone and to move aside- they didnt really make a bad record though and in "simple pleasures" and "can our love" they produced two great ones. This is worth getting for the soundtrack version of "tiny tears" (better than the album version) the wonderful townes van zandt cover and those lovely velvets influenced early songs - and just generally the song sequence on the 1st disc . Someones taken some time with the packaging and sleevenotes too .

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    Can Our Love( 2001 )
    Dying Slowly / People Keep Comin' Around / Tricklin / Can Our Love... / Sweet Release / Don't Ever Get Tired / No Man In The World / Chilitetime

    Here we get an almost exact replica of 'Simple Pleasure' bar more prominent orchestration and confident writing. The return of the orchestration, which wasn't present much at all on 'Simple Pleasure' is a delight. Tindersticks string parts are always dramatic and sweeping. Always adding to the songs in which they are employed. It's certainly true of the dramatic opening song, 'Dying Slowing'. The lyrics are so quintessentially Tindersticks long time fans will smile at the subject matter and turns of phrase. The mid section of the song picks up tempo and the piece becomes even more striking that it already was. The instrumental sequence to close is perfectly done, the strings go on - and the song is pretty much faultless. Some way to open! 'People Keep Coming Around' is akin to 'Before You Close Your Eyes' on the previous record but done even better second time round. A superbly funky groove, great soulful vocals switching between Stuart and a first vocal appearance for the groups multi instrumentalist and string arranger 'Dickon Hinchliffe'. 'Tricklin' unlike most Tindersticks songs, which are group compositions, was written solo by Stuart. It lacks any music bar a droning single note organ refrain. Stuart overlaps with himself vocally to some effect, but ultimately this is filler. The title song is a slow gorgeous late night soul beauty. A stunning vocal performance, genuinely moving. A repeated refrain 'can our love, can our love, grow any further now?'.  Perfectly judged and appropriate pretty guitar is another highlight of a song that's already got enough highlights, thank you!

    'Sweet Release' is the second funk soul outing on the record, this time with added violin providing a second melodic hook. The repetitive nature of the music, the grooves, the organ and bass - is given welcome relief by the hypnotic violin playing. It all adds together, another winner. 'Dont Ever Get Tired' contains delicate guitar lines, soft and tender vocals. The bass remains superlative - a key element to the groups new found direction. 'No Man In The World' is devastatingly sad with a semi spoken, semi sung vocal part through the verses to move onto religious, utterly sad and beautiful pleading vocals through the chorus parts. The guitar returns for 'Chilitetime' and you realise the only thing on the record remotely approaching filler, or less than truly satisfying, was the third song 'Tricklin'. They've moved on again, further defined and developed the style introduced by 'Simple Pleasure'. It sounds like the group are full of enthusiasm for the style of music they now find themselves playing. There is conviction here. Plenty to both love and admire and this album can easily be highly recommended.

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    Gazza garyhess44@hotmail.com
    A wonderful record built around 2 epic tracks "people keep coming around" which is VERY curtis mayfield especially the strings and guitar solos and "sweet release" which is very tim buckley with its acoustic groove and organ , it feels like it should drift on for ever. Dont ever get tired is a beautiful resigned cry for a lovers loyalty based around the velvets guitar lines for pale blue eyes . Best of all is the title track with its lazy beat,subtle strings/horns, wah wah guitar and pleading vocal . Theres a a moment here where the music simply stops after uncoiling for several minutes before stepping gracefully into a new melody with that leaves your heart reeling , before the track swiftly fades . This is real soul music , beautifully arranged and played , the feel is totally heartfelt and natural . This band is sorely missed but at least they ceased on a career highpoint .

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    Waiting For The Moon 9 ( 2003 )
    Until The Morning Comes / Say Goodbye To The City / Sweet Memory / 4.48 Psychosis / Waiting For The Moon / Trying To Find A Home / Sometimes It Hurts / My Oblivion / Just A Dog / Running Wild

    'Curtains' initially springs to mind when first listening to 'Waiting For The Moon'. Bewilderment springs to mind when two of the first three songs are sung, not by Stuart, but rather sung by Dickon Hinchliffe instead. The feeling in this listener when the opening 'Until The Morning Comes' first arrived, and the vocals began, was rather akin to that of a petulant child, "aw, I WANT STUART TO SING! Give me Stuart!!". Listening to the rest of the album provoked a sigh, as in, "So what?" - as the entire album seems to merely be variations and repetitions of already existing Tindersticks themes and ideas. Hence the bringing to mind of 'Curtains'. However... give this 'Waiting For The Moon' album a few listens, drop the petulance and the pettiness - and suddenly everything sinks in. It does more than just sink in, songs become a part of your soul, certain songs, most significantly in actual fact, the opening non-stuart sung 'Until The Morning Comes'. "My hands round your throat / If I kill you now, well, they'll never know / Wake me up if i'm sleeping / By the look in your eyes I know the time's nearly come" - and then strings, subtle. Dickon's voice is a whole lot less mumbling than Stuart's, by the way. In fact, it's perfectly suited to what becomes a deeply touching, utterly beautiful darkly romantic song of the very highest calibre. Repeat playable? You bet! In fact, 'Until The Morning Comes' lives right up there alongside 'Tiny Tears', 'Marbles' or whatever your halcyon Tindersticks days may bring to mind. 'Until The Morning Comes' is no instant classic, it's a give it three listens classic. Sometimes, that's the best kind. Memories of both 'Curtains' and the second Tindersticks album are evoked with tunes such as 'Say Goodbye To The City' and '4.48 Psychosis', but this 'Waiting For The Moon' album wins out over such comparisons given appropriate time. Produced by Stuart Staples with Ian Caple and recorded over a seventeen month period, 'Waiting For The Moon' is a beautiful sounding album - the production is powerful and clear and the playing richly confident. The Tindersticks have never sounded better, in fact.

    'Sweet Memory' is another nicely romantic Dickon Hinchliffe sung tune, the title song a lovely beautiful lullaby sung hauntingly by Stuart Staples. One of the initial reasons disappointment can sink in when listening to this album and the conclusion drawn that Tindersticks are doing nothing new - isn't helped by such songs as the "stuart and chanteuse" duet of 'Sometimes It Hurts' or the very reminiscent of  'Curtains' likes of 'Just A Dog'. No, this 'Waiting For The Moon' record may not be a very original or innovative piece of Tindersticks work, but that's actually the only slightly bad thing about it. All the songs here are proper quality compositions, all expertly performed and so beautiful sounding. That's more than enough for me and ultimately, what matters at the end of the day. Oh! I can't leave without mentioning 'Trying To Find A Way Home'. The benefit of the time and care the group put into recording this album becomes apparent over the course of all the records ten songs - but not least with the vocal performances all through the oh so lovely 'Trying To Find A Way Home'. It's like being gently caressed and washed all over by your lovers hands and mouth.

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    The Hungry Saw( 2008 )
    Introduction / Yesterday's Tomorrow / Flicker Of A Little Girl / Come Feel The Sun / E Type / Other Side Of The World / Organist Entertains / Hungry Saw / Mother Dear / Boobar Come Back To Me / All The Love / Turns We Took

    The Tindersticks reunite for their first album in five long years. They have been reduced to a slim-line trio of Stuart Staples, Dave Boulter and guitarist Neil Fraser. I must say, I miss the contributions of Dickon Hinchliffe, one of the creative foils for Stuart Staples back in the original line-up. It's interesting actually because 'The Hungry Saw' is almost going back to the sound of the group's debut, although slightly less murky production wise. The lack of Dickon Hinchliffe songs you might imagine threatens to render the group one-dimensional, but so much care has been taken over the recording of this album, that's certainly not the case. What's also missing on 'The Hungry Saw' is the massed ranks of classic Tindersticks strings as well as the usual soul-number or two. It's a back to basics album, but that's not a bad thing, by any means. Listen.... some things improve over time. Well, 'The Hungry Saw' isn't the finest Tindersticks album, but then again, it's got strong competition. What's really interesting is the two instrumentals, gorgeously crafted and richly melodic. Tindersticks instrumentals in the past used to be a little hit and miss. Stuart working so closely with Dave Boulter on various solo projects has repeaped rewards, those two really know how to create meaningful, inspired instrumentals. Right now i'm still missing those soulful numbers though. Let's see what we have....

    The closing track, 'Turns We Took' is a soulful number! It's got a slow, beautiful, lazy groove and Stuart giving it his best semi-mumbling, deep vocal style. The backing vocals really add to the song and the strings add the texture - beautiful texture. 'The Flicker Of A Little Girl' passes for this albums 'pop' song. Of course, Tindersticks don't really do 'pop'. This is special though, that special Tindersticks magic is back whereby their songs just get better and better and better the more times you listen to them. 'Feel The Sun' is every bit as beautiful as Tindersticks highlights of the past - a simple piano pattern plays behind Stuart at his most poetic. A lone violin accompanies the piano and then a bass subtly comes in without you really noticing. A soft song this with a fragile atmosphere but you want to hold it carefully in your hands, really concentrate. The title track is another winner in our house and an example of how important the guitar sound is to The Tindersticks. It's makes you wonder though, does 'The Hungry Saw' LP. Where are all the new bands with even an ounce of Tindersticks quality? Well, they ain't there - Tindersticks have come back and boy do we need them.

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    Readers Comments

    Gazza Edinburgh
    A pleasant surprise to see a new tindersticks album , surprising in the respect that staples solo material was far from a failure . However; this album while taking its time to work its charms seems to have continued from where the solo albums left off , its certainly better than "waiting for the moon" the last album which was tindersticks by numbers . This time theirs a rawer sound to the backing tracks , while the strings and horns when employed sound completely unforced and natural . And having seen the band live recently they played the album in its entirety with a handful of old material just to reinforce that this is a new band and a new phase . The new lineup augmented by strings and horns sounded out of this world . "yesterdays tomorrows" and "flicker of a girl" are as poppy as these guys get , the former with its pounding northern soul beat could be a massive hit for amy winehouse if she desired . Theres plenty for long term fans to admire though! , "come feel the sun" and "the other side of the world" are beautiful sticks ballads "mother dear" sedate plod explodes with a unhinged guitar solo , while "boobar" and the title track have swaying melodies enhanced by strong backing vocals . Only the bonnie prince billyesque "all the love" doesnt fully convince but the "simple pleasures" style mellow groove of "turns we took" brings the album home strongly . The question is will this attract a new audience ? I doubt it very much - an acquired taste they remain , but like the pleasures of a smooth malt whiskey its a taste worth acquiring. 8/10

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    Falling Down A Mountain( 2010 )
    Falling Down A Mountain / Keep You Beautiful / Harmony Around My Table / Peanuts / She Rode Me Down / Hubbards Hill / Black Smoke / No Place So Alone / Factory Girls / Piano Music

    3 brand new band members returns Tindersticks to a sextet, yet how well do these new Tindersticks compare with the old? Well, same difference really, although the extra band members to return a denseness to the sound that was missing in places during their last studio effort, 'The Hungry Saw'. Having said that, 'Falling Down A Mountain' is one of the less cohesive Tindersticks effort. The first three tracks for example sound like they should be on three different albums. 'Keep You Beautiful' is the same sort of romantic Stuart Staples ballad we've heard from them before, without being any better. 'Harmony Around My Table' is 'City Sickness' territory with 'Falling Down A Mountain' being a jazzy, startlingly striking number that could have appeared on their 1993 debut quite snugly. The male/female duet 'Peanuts' also is nothing new in Tindersticks land, yet also utterly impossible to resist. It continues to ensure the album overall has a disjointed feel and i don't know of course how many sessions were involved in recording this new album, but i would suspect the new members will have bedded in better come next time around. Naturally, Tindersticks previous work demands all future work is of such a high standard that the further Tindersticks carry on, the higher the burden of their past. At times, 'Falling Down A Mountain' feels like a series of outtakes from albums one to 3, no bad things necessarily, but personally I would have preferred more ambition such as the title track than repeats of what's gone before.

    Side two of the album continues in a familiar Tindersticks vein, the bite of 'Black Smoke' offering a brief respite in texture, a denser composition, scratchier and layered. 'Factory Girls' becomes an album and career highlight though, the soulful croon of Stuart Staples also soulfully singing seemingly personal lyrics. The piano touches and layers of instrumentation carefully rising as Staples becomes more impassioned are joyous and suddenly any talk of Tindersticks not being right to continue whichever way they please becomes nonsensical. This is a stunning track and they should have hung the whole album around it. The closing instrumental 'Piano Music' is lovely if pointless, Tindersticks can do these kind of instrumentals in their sleep. Summary? I don't know, really. Half of this is potentially a great album. I hope next time around something slightly different happens but am I still glad to have them back? Oh, yes.

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    Readers Comments

    Sandy oy-sand@online.no
    An eclectic album. Or at least it feels more varied than many Tindersticks albums. But that could be a question of production too. Or different approaches to mood. On a couple of songs they seems to go for a lighter, happier touch. And other songs they don't. And that can make it sound less 'cohesive', as opposed to, let's say, the first three albums, that are dark and moody from start to finish. But those albums are also eclectic in musical variation, from avant garde experiments, romantic ballads and urban paranoia. "Falling Down A Mountain" makes me curious for the next Tindersticks album. Maybe this is one of those bridging albums, on the way to something else. In a way I hope so. I really enjoy this album, it's the sound of Tindersticks, and a little bit of everything I love about them. But It also makes me wonder where they can go from here, where they can still be Tindersticks, and at the same time not becoming a parody of themself. Well well, time will tel! l. And I absolutely appreciate this record. It's good music. 8/10.

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    this page last updated 19/09/10

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