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Old 11-12-2008, 07:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tindersticks - The Hungry Saw.

Hungry Saw. 2008.



Of all the releases that I have heard this year this is an album that has seemingly passed by with the least fanfare. I am not sure why as it is easily comparable in quality to Tindersticks previous work. Maybe the listening public are more attuned to others that produce this style of chamber pop that has a more contemporary feel, think Belle & Sebastian as an example, than that of Tindersticks 60's influenced style. Also the songs may be a bit too plaintive for some and are not melodically up tempo. Be that as it may they do have a fair bit to offer to those who look for those sad albums that meander along. What Tindersticks also have going for them is Stuart Staples baritone vocals that with the rather melancholy lyrics can at times remind the listener of say Leonard Cohen.

The album contains 3 instrumentals and all three add to the usual melancholia of the Tindersticks albums that I have heard. The opening track Introduction, the first, is a nice start and gives the impression of being an Eno inspired piece of Ambient. It also prepares for what is always the highlight of Tindersticks and that is an excellent vocals by Stuart Staples. The 2nd track Yesterdays Tomorrows is chamber pop with a simple but constant rhythm from the guitar with the song being filled with strings, wind instruments and Staples plaintive voice. The Flicker Of A Little Girl has a vocal reminiscent of Bryan Ferry singing a Gordon Lightfoot song. There is a 50'/60's pop feel with flutes and backing vocals cooing. Come Feel The Sun is more chamber pop with the piano leading and a beautiful violin playing as the lead instrument. The 2nd instrumental E Type follows and has heavy reverberating guitar, horns and a wordless female vocal that leads into what sounds like a farfisa organ. A very 60's piece that would have been comfortable as a theme song. The Other Side Of The World is another plaintive song with Staples sounding as sad as ever. Again orchestration fills the song in a soundtrack manner reminiscent of the past. Our 3rd and final instrumental The Organist Entertains is a lovely piece of almost Lounge come Fairground music that would not have been out of place on the end of a Blur album say 13. The Hungry Saw is compared to the other songs up tempo and with an at times layered vocals by Staples, has the sound filled out with lush production. Mother Dear is a brooding and haunting song that leaves the listener wondering as to what Staples is singing about. This is personal. Boobar Come Back again has one wondering as to the lyric. Pet names in lyric titles and in the lyric text can be crass and annoying at times but somehow this works. Again the 60's pop influences are rife, think the Righteous Brothers/Walker Brothers and that slow sing and minimal instrumentation to a louder vocal and, dare I say, even a Spector's wall of sound. All The Love has another plaintive Staples vocal over a softly strummed guitar and another wordless female vocal with moody strings complimenting. The Turns We Took adds to the 60's pop feel with a lovely lazy feel to the vocals that almost sound hopeful.

If the fan of past Tindersticks work enjoyed Staples vocals then they will not be disappointed. Even though there is a heavily slow tempo to the music that will also not detract. The production by Staples is first class and for those that like 60's style slow pop they will no doubt be happy to be transported back in time.
But in the end the major point of the recording is that it is all rather thoughtful and melancholy, more a sad Sunday night than a sunny Saturday afternoon recording but nonetheless worth a listen.
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice return to form for Staples and company. Good job on the review as well.
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