published: 17 /
You’d think the flirtations with tasty faux-soul on 1999’s ‘Simple Pleasures’ would have lent Tindersticks some of the resilience of ‘What’s Going On?’ or ‘Let’s Stay Together’. But as their fifth LP
You’d think the flirtations with tasty faux-soul on 1999’s ‘Simple Pleasures’ would have lent Tindersticks some of the resilience of ‘What’s Going On?’ or ‘Let’s Stay Together’. But as their fifth LP eloquently proves, life’s still hard for the pub singers of Holloway.
‘Can Our Love…’ is all about those moments in life. Split-second epiphanies stretched into 4.29 excursions round the bottom of the wine glass. It’s a lush of an album, in every sense; drowning itself in misery and sounding sublime. Its message is unremittingly simple: Shit happens. But it looks cooler in sepia.
Opening with a song called ‘Dying Slowly’ may be a bit like etching a big upside-down smiley face on your reputation, but I swear there’s moments in the languid lounge stylings where sparks are flying from the emotional discharge. Staples sounds like he’s been punctured so many times that choirs of angels could descend from the heavens and all you’d get from him is “Raining again? Ah, hell !'.
But when he sings it’s genuinely affecting, almost embarrassingly passionate. Croaking the refrain "It seemed better than shooting myself" like he’s picking at the bullet holes in his psychic shield, growling through "I’ve got memories/ I keep them away from me" like the lines keep snagging on the skin.
Try listening to it on minidisc while you’re walking down the street. It makes the whole world seem like it’s moving in time-lapse photography. This is what relationships sound like slowed down to the pace of snails and examined under the Hubble telescope. On occasions Stuart is staring down his feelings before they eat him, at others he’s baring his soul and screaming his head off. He’s a man in love with his own paranoia.
Prising open the photo album for ‘No Man In The World’ we find a sort of grizzly confessional to a former conquest: "Sitting in the garden/Watching your house burn…wanting to explode’. Stuart’s disgusted by his own guilty satisfaction, but he pours out the poetry with the enthusiasm of a voyeur. "Don’t cherish your pretence" he sniffs coldly at one point. The voice is trembling so much by the time he hits the chorus of "Still feel the flames/Still feel the cold" that you can’t make out whether he’s singing feel or fear. Second to last song and his emotional defences have been burnt to a crisp but Staples still sings like he’s twisting every word out of his heart with a corkscrew
It won’t give you any answers; mainly because it doesn’t ask any questions - the emphasis isn’t on the ‘can?’ but the dot-dot-dot after all – but ‘Can Our Love…’ is blessed. There’s a purity in fallibility and this is an album of wretched self-consciousness, albeit one that isn’t afraid to swagger like a soldier and preach like a drunk.
Music that makes you want to live that little bit more.
People Keep Comin Around
Can Our Love
Don't Ever Get Tired
No Man In The World