Tindersticks - Simple Pleasure (Island)
From the opening track on Tindersticks' "Simple Pleasure", 'Can't we start again', you just know this is going to be good. Uncharacteristically upbeat and toe-tappingly soulful, the song indicates an apparent change in the band's formula. Where their last album "Curtains" (before best-of compilation "Donkeys") was more moody and inward looking, "Simple Pleasure" marks some more experimental ground for the Nottingham crooners, described once as Jack Daniel's kinda music. Perhaps this is the result of front man, Stuart Staples taking over production duties on the album.
The piano-led 'Can We Start Again' is certainly one of the highlights, displaying a greater emphasis now on keyboard than violin-led songs. It is further enhanced by acoustic guitar opening, hand clapping and soully "ooh ooooh" backing vocals. Similarly with 'If She's Torn', where the use of an organ gives the whole procedure a much warmer feeling. This album has a luxurious orchestral feel, and the cover of Odyssey's hit 'If You're Looking For A Way Out' fits particularly well into Tinderstick's repertoire.
Poor ol' Stuart Staples must have been through a terrible ordeal. If the depth of the angst evident on their four albums is anything to go by he must have chopped up into little pieces (in his former life) and made listen to Nine Inch Nails (or something equally as painful). The bloke has established his place among top misery makers, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, sounding at times not unlike either.
Still, if misery can sound this good then there's hope for all of us.
by Anne-Louise Foley.