In the early nineties when Tindersticks came along, there wasn’t really a space for their strong narratives and meandering song structures. Wedged between the world of indie rock and Brit pop, sidelined with the moniker of alternative when they were closer to Leonard Cohen than Jarvis Cocker they existed. They also thrived and while it’s been a while since we were given new music from them, their twelfth album No Treasure But Hope is a return to form that isn’t dates.
The opening piano that gets “For the Beauty” going should take you back to the band’s earlier sound without feeling like it’s a throwback. The gentle nuance in the song pairs well with the attitude the band brings to their music. It’s not a standout track, though it’s the best way to begin this album. The third track “Trees Fall” offers a tension that mixes with the simple approach the band employs of the music. Reminding you at times of latter year Bowie or even Nick Cave, the vocals and the music make for an intriguing sound that’s difficult to shake.
The emotion in all of the vocals is tense. It works well. Especially on songs like “Carousel,” the meandering pacing of “See My Girls” and on the upbeat strides of “Tough Love.” But as tense as the moments are, the standouts come when the band stretches out a bit. “Pinky in the Daylight” has the educated sneer you want from British music while having that ‘don’t give a fuck’ vibe at the same time. Our favorite track here comes on “The Old Mans Gait.” The soft opening and subtleties in the song craft bring each note forward like a hand delivered letter proving that the softer side of the band was always where the money was. And it still is.
No Treasure But Hope is available to purchase directly from City Slang Records. It can also be purchased in all outlets or streamed on all platforms. Tindersticks is on tour January 20 in Gent. Belgium at NTGent until May 24 in Dublin, Ireland at National Concert Hall. The band’s complete tour schedule can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Richard Dumas & Suzanne Osborne.