Artists of the week: Tindersticks
With their career turning 25 this year, Tindersticks are one of the most persistent and regular indie rock acts of the modern era. Gravitating around core members Stuart A. Staples, David Boutler and Neil Fraser, the band have released so far ten albums with a distinct signature sound that they have been able to shape in order to give to each of their LPs a distinct flavor and personality, but always with the same dark and subtle sense of humor. The atmospheric and cinematic qualities of their music have been put to use with great effect in many TV shows and movies (mostly directed by their usual collaborator Claire Dennis).
The first phase of their career is deeply informed by the talent of violinist and arranger Dickon Hinchliffe who gave to their songs a deep feeling of longing and lush orchestrations that can be heard throughout their first three records. 1999’s Simple Pleasure represented an important shift for the band, with its snappy, direct songs influenced by soul music that quickly became their standard sound for the following records. In the mid-00s, Start A. Staples took a solo career and Hinchliffe left the band. When it seemed that Tindersticks would no longer be, Staples, Boutler and Fraser reformed the group releasing records with a kinetic approach that brought to mind the energy of their first album. Critics and fans seem to have been constantly open-minded and ravenous about the several musical paths of their musings, turning them one of the most praised and respected bands of the last two decades.
Their new album, The Waiting Room, is probably their most restrained collection of tracks to date, touching virtually all the landscapes they have explored in the past, whilst still exploring new ground. There are three moody instrumentals, some prime Celtic soul takes, a very sucessful Afro-beat experiment and, of course, another two ravishing duets with the late Lhasa de Sela The Savages’ Jehnny Beth. A relaxed and mature work that feels essential during these cold, long and wintery nights.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.