Tindersticks has been charting a glorious trajectory since returning to action in 2008 following a 5-year hiatus. With band leader Stuart A. Staples and co-founders David Boutler and Neil Fraser forming a core trio of original members, Tindersticks definitively returned to form with two critically-acclaimed albums of "wonderfully classy, coyly playful, coarse pop balladry" (according to Exclaim! Magazine) in 2008 and 2010.
The band's new record, The Something Rain, makes this a trifecta.
As Staples asserts, Tindersticks has by this point truly become a band again, with the rhythm section of Dan McKinna (bass) and Earl Harvin (drums) now solidly in the fold and the group well-oiled from several years of touring in this configuration. The band's 2011 performances of its expansive body of film music penned for French art-house director Claire Denis (collected in a luxurious box set on Constellation) also brought a fresh sensibility to bear on the group.
The Something Rain brims and bristles with canny narrative thrust. Slinky, supple compositions are spiked with plenty of barbed edges and sparkling fizz. Right out of the gate, album opener "Chocolate" features David Boulter's sequel to the spoken-word classic "My Sister" from Tindersticks' 1995 eponymous release. Boulter narrates the story while the band works up a brilliant, brewing crescendo, abetted by the swirling horns of long-time collaborator Terry Edwards. This is indeed a new Tindersticks classic – edgier, more exuberant and more expansive – that spurs The Something Rain into a song cycle of rolling, at times rollicking, and always inimitably Tinderstickian takes on smoky Northern Soul.
Staples' home studio Le Chien Chanceux has figured prominently throughout the Tindersticks reunification period, but with The Something Rain, this space – and Staples' ongoing immersion in recording and mixing techniques – has fully emerged as ground zero for the band's sound. For the first time, Le Chien Chanceux studio serves as the location for the entirety of a Tindersticks album production, and Staples himself is solely credited with the recording and mixing. The album sounds terrific, and is a testament to Tindersticks' continuing reinvigoration – a dedication to charting its own course and shaping its own destiny further reinforced by the band issuing The Something Rain on its own Lucky Dog imprint for the UK, while partnering with Constellation and City Slang for North America and Europe respectively.
Thanks for listening.
2. Show Me Everything
3. This Fire of Autumn
4. A Night So Still
5. Slippin' Shoes
8. Come Inside
9. Goodbye Joe
Running time: 00:50:14
CD comes in a custom gatefold paperboard jacket.
David Boulter, Neil Fraser, Earl Harvin, Dan McKinna, Stuart A. Staples.
Thomas Bloch, Terry Edwards, Gina Foster, David Kitt, Andy Nice, Julian Siegel and Will Wilde.
Recorded and mixed by Stuart A. Staples at Le Chien Chanceux, May 2010–September 2011. Mastered by John Dent at Loud.
Tracks 1, 9 by Boulter; 3, 5, 6, 8 by Staples; 2 by Staples/Boulter; 4 by Staples/McKinna, 7 by Staples/Kitt. Published by Bug Music except 7 Bug Music/Gold Spillin’ Music.