Tindersticks - Falling Down The Mountain
“falling down the mountain” is the first new Tindersticks recording in five years, and it seems as if touring has helped them keep up their chops and desire. Recorded in France at vocalist/writer Stuart Staple’s own studio and in Belgium, ‘falling” is not a space that provides new moods, but deepens and refreshes some old tropes. Romance, sour and joyful, hope and sex, memory and despair, it is all here, along with the smoky soul that Staples apparently feels, rightly ,in his hands, is the lifeblood of dark nights and dim bedrooms.
The set kicks off with the title track, which has a Latin feel, but is also noirish, cinematic.” Keep You Beautiful” is classic Tindersticks: acoustic and drums are its signature, with a focus on Staples’ wavering, romantic croon; this has a Bacharach feel too, especially on the phrasing of the title at the end of each verse. Credit especially goes to bassist Dan McKinna.
Guest vocalist Margaret O’Hara appearsin duet with Staples on “Peanuts,” a disturbing, Velvets type ballad, the lyrics both absurd and creepy; I’ve known my lover was true for many reasons, but not for a continued shared affection for legumes. The spaghetti Western pomp of “She Rode Me Down” is followed by horn player Terry Edwards’ “Hubbards Hills,” and eerie instrumental introduced by keyboards (David Boulter), but taken over mid-track by Edwards’ trumpet, both forceful and poignant, leaving the keys to follow behind the melody, ghost-like. Probably the most rocking and/or aggressive track is “Black Smoke,” which segues into the slightly psych, groovy lament of “No Place So Alone.”
On “falling down the mountain,” Staples and Co. do not venture out too far beyond mid-range brooding pop, but they mine every bit of lust, luster and poetry from that sonic space. Tindersticks OWN that space, as few other bands ever have, and will own it alaways, unless Nick Cave finally decides to stop fighting it and steal Leonard Cohen’s identity for real.
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