sun 18/04/2021

CD: Tindersticks - The Waiting Room | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tindersticks - The Waiting Room

CD: Tindersticks - The Waiting Room

A penumbral mood piece from the perennially sombre combo

The encapsulation of the estrangement, loss and rootlessness of Tindersticks' waiting room

The waiting room is a despondent place. Wherever it is a staging post for is not bringing its occupants delight. Unsurprisingly, as it is by the perennially sombre Tindersticks, The Waiting Room is a grey-hued album which does not suggest imminent rescue from this predicament.

The waiting room is a despondent place. Wherever it is a staging post for is not bringing its occupants delight. Unsurprisingly, as it is by the perennially sombre Tindersticks, The Waiting Room is a grey-hued album which does not suggest imminent rescue from this predicament. After a brief rendition of the theme from Mutiny on the Bounty, the ensuing 10 tracks set lyrics of estrangement, loss and rootlessness to musical settings which could soundtrack a penumbral nightclub conjured by David Lynch.

The album's resemblance to a soundtrack is unsurprising. Tindersticks have composed for Claire Denis as well as museum spaces. They have also performed in tribute to Lynch. Their tenth studio album, The Waiting Room follows 2012’s The Something Rain. It is their second with a line-up which retains three original members – including vocalist Stuart Staples – and two who joined in 2007 and 2009. The band celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2013.

The Waiting Room is jazzier and more jittery than The Something Rain, and the band sound more Gallic than ever. Muted brass stabs on “Help Yourself” evoke both Miles Davis and Manu Dibango, while a funk undertow supports “Were We Once Lovers?”. Savages’ Jehnny Beth appears with Staples on the mordant yet insistent “We Are Dreamers!”, bringing some welcome tonal shading. The delicate “Hey Lucinda” features a vocal by Lhasa de Sela recorded before her 2010 death. The best comes last: the final track is the Tim Hardin-esque – with a touch of Georges Brassens – rumination “Like Only Lovers Can”. The Waiting Room does not, though, hold together as in album. Despite the unified mood, it feels like a series of disconnected vignettes.

Fittingly, the album itself is not a stand-alone release. Each track is accompanied by a film (not supplied with the album for review, though “Hey Lucinda” and “We Are Dreamers!” are on the internet). The directors include Denis, Richard Dumas, Christoph Girardet, Gregorio Graziosi, Rosie Pedlow & Joe King, Gabriel Sanna and Pierre Vinour. Perhaps viewing these as a whole will provide a much-needed extra dimension and bring the thematic cohesion which The Waiting Room lacks.

Overleaf: Watch the film for “We Are Dreamers!” from Tindersticks’ The Waiting Room

 

Despite its unified mood, 'The Waiting Room' feels like a series of disconnected vignettes

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters