Tindersticks are one of the UK's most talented, and rather unfortunately, overlooked bands of the past 10 years or so, and 'Waiting For The Moon', their latest LP, should go a long way to help give the band the attention they deserve.
This Tindersticks album, much like the others, is ten songs of joy, love, fear, pain, and any other emotion worth mentioning all thrown in to one big melting pot of ideas.
Lazy music journalists and even lazier self-poclaimed music geeks might just label this album as more boring indie rubbish, and leave it at that. I would too, however, I just happen to love this record too much. All the ingredients that make up a truly great Tindersticks record are here- the soaring string arrangements, the slick, sometimes funky drumming, the even funkier organ and the baritone drawl of lead singer Stuart Staples.
'Waiting For The Moon' kicks off with the downright gorgeous 'Until The Morning Comes', featuring slow acoustic guitars, delicate pianos and lush strings, it really is one of the highlights of the album, and I haven't even heard the other nine songs yet.
Other highlights include 'Say Goodbye To The City' - a wonderful exercise to see just how many instruments can fit into one mix of a song. Starting with the aforementioned funky drumming and Mr. Staples' deep, brooding vocals, it quickly builds and builds until what sounds like an entire orchestra, including a brass section are all battling for attention like extras in a rap music video. It dies down, then picks up again, and then, once more you're transported into the clouds by the whole Tindersticks album budget playing for their supper. Next track 'Sweet Memory' is in stark contrast to the song which preceded it- all strings and guitars, with some beautiful lazy drumming just barely audible and quiet piano dotted about the three or so minutes.
'4.48 Psychosis' is an odd little number. The track is pretty much just a one-chord jam, with Stuart Staples reading some prose from the play that shares the same name, written by Sarah Kane. It's interesting in its diversity from the other tracks on here, being as it is a sprawling near instrumental, with screeching violin, reminiscent of Belgian art rockers Deus. 'Trying To Find A Home' is back to the acoustic guitar and strings format, but managing to sound just that little bit different. Everything is on top form here- Staples' voice never sounded so sexy or full of life, the drums so slinky or so slick, and the violins and string arrangements never gave one song so much life. Even the backing harmonies sound magnificent, giving the track that extra energy.
First single 'Sometimes It Hurts' is a duet with Ihasa de sela, and the next track 'My Oblivion' is the longest on the record. The former is a mid pace call and response ballad with the sultry vocal talents of de Sela, set off with warm sounding strings and acoustic guitars. It swoons, croons and will not be far from any CD player when it's dinner party time. The latter, 'My Oblivion' is as sultry, slick and downright lovely as Tindersticks get- slow strings, almost jazz like drums, more deep baritone singing and faint strains of organs and pianos. One of the finest songs on here, and on any Tindersticks record for that matter.
Final track 'Running Wild' is another string drenched beauty, but not as good as an album closer as 'My Oblivion' would be. Still, it's just soulful and pretty to take you to the end of the record.
After it's all finished, and the CD stops spinning, it feels as if you've just been somewhere totally different, or you've just participated in one of those life affirming moments that happen every once in a while. It's slow, it's slick and it's most definitely one of the most beautiful albums of the past 5 years. Absolutely wonderful.