Monday, 18 November 2019

Tindersticks ‎– No Treasure But Hope (2019)

Style: Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Lucky Dog, City Slang

01.   For The Beauty
02.   The Amputees
03.   Trees Fall
04.   Pinky In The Daylight
05.   Carousel
06.   Take Care In Your Dreams
07.   See My Girls
08.   The Old Mans Gait
09.   Tough Love
10.   No Treasure But Hope

Acoustic Guitar – Stanley Staples, Stuart A. Staples
Backing Vocals – Dan McKinna
Bouzouki – Adam Goldsmith
Cello – Andy Nice, Sarah Willson
Double Bass, Piano – Dan McKinna
Electric Guitar – Neil Fraser
Horn – Matt Gunner, Richard Steggall, Tom Rumsby
Percussion, Backing Vocals – Earl Harvin
Saxophone – Terry Edwards
Vibraphone, Organ, Piano – David Boulter
Viola – Rachel Robson, Rob Spriggs, Sophie Sirota
Violin – Alison Dods, Calina De La Mare, Howard Gott, Kate Robinson, Laura Melhuish, Lucy Wilkins, Natalia Bonner, Rick Koster
Vocals – Stuart A. Staples
String And Horn Arranger – Dan McKinna
Producer – Stuart A. Staples

The oddest thing on Tindersticks’ 12th album is its longest track, See My Girls. Stuart Staples, a mannered singer anyway, sounds as if he has been studying Ron Moody playing Fagin in Oliver! And the lyric he delivers in that sly and insinuating voice is set in an unspecified past, in which cameras and newsstands are still everyday things. On the walls of his kiosk, the narrator has pinned the photos his girls have sent him from their travels – Paris, Rome, the Pyramids – via some very odd phrasing (“The tall buildings of the Americas / Skyscrapers as they are known.” Skyscrapers, you say? Really?). Eventually they end up at the scenes of death: Flanders, Birkenau, Cambodia, Yemen, Israel and Palestine. And then it’s back to turtles and dolphins and trees. It appears to be the blandest of all messages: well, the world’s a rum old place, eh? Musically it is so compelling – a twisting, droning, spidery piece – that it only makes the lyric seem odder. 
That aside, No Treasure But Hope is much as you would expect: subdued and crepuscular, everything stripped back so each musical element is distinct and has its own breathing space. The Nick Cave comparisons are still valid, but perhaps a truer one might be Lambchop, with whom Tindersticks share a certain warmth and relative straightforwardness that the Bad Seeds tend to eschew. Warm in sound, that is: Tindersticks’ world is not a happy place, and even beauty brings Staples to his knees (on For the Beauty). The use of severed limbs as a metaphor for loss on The Amputees leads one to fear that Pinky in the Daylight will be about the forcible removal of a finger, but it turns out to be a glorious love song, “pinky” referring to one of the colours revealed in the world once love illuminates it: “Bleached by my own sadness / I was slipping into the grey / But now I see / Pinky in the daylight, crimson at night.” It’s all rather lovely and it yields its loveliness slowly, like a drip. Don’t dismiss it because there’s no instant hit. 
Michael Hann / The Guardian