Witnessing a cresting interest in cinematic pop from the likes of The Flaming Lips and Delgados, it appears the zeitgeist has finally caught up to Tindersticks. Since their 1993 self-titled debut, the band has courted a sound as plush as a Robin Leach lifestyle, with more strings than a co-dependent relationship and richly accoutered arrangements recalling the baroque pop of Jacques Brel. Singer Stuart Staples' smoky baritone and dark, tortured, nocturnal flame make him a natural for fans of Nick Cave, an aesthetic reinforced on songs such as "Until the Morning Comes," which opens the album with the lyric, "With my hands round your throat, if I kill you now we will never know." There's also "4.48 Psychosis," which utilizes words from a play of the same name by the late Sarah Kane, who (appropriately?) offed herself. The track is an unusually angular one for the quintet, taking a steely guitar drone straight from the Velvets and winding it tight over a loose jam, like a reverb-ridden and fevered dream of "Venus in Furs." Overall it's a fine theatrical album, highlighted by the resilient pop of "Trying to Find A Home," which soars triumphantly on the wings of violins and burbling brass without overwhelming the pretty Beatles melody at its center. While not a departure from their earlier aesthetic, it's nonetheless another rewarding volume in a polished pop collection and a good introduction to the band.
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