In many ways, Tindersticks have long been a band out of time, oblivious to any prevailing trend. They emerged as Grunge and Britpop were tearing up student dancefloors, and DJs hadn’t quite yet attained superstar status, but club culture was ascending.
Their beautifully- crafted melancholy, hugely orchestral and lush, belonged to an era of polished shoes and frothy gowns, furtive romance and a Britain that longed for the easy glamour of its overseas counterparts. Stuart Staples ‘ unique, slightly pitchy but sexy croon was like something David Lynch would probably include in a soundtrack, as terrible things happened to small-town women. Indeed, they once recorded with Isabella Rosellini, but thankfully this is omitted… Not their finest moment.
From early songs like City Sickness, Her and Travelling Light, the gorgeous duet with The Walkabouts’ Carla Torgerson, the string-soaked sadness only got darker and creepier. This is evinced by their soundtrack work for Claire Denis, one of France’s most existential film makers. Nenette et Boni is not the place to go looking for a good time.
And yet, they endure. Players come and go, but as this compilation proves, tear- stained lounge pop and chamber pop, like vintage suits and dresses, will always be timeless.
Most recent single Both Sides Of The Blade could even outdo Nick Cave in the hedonistic misery ballad stakes. Which is not a bad thing, surely, if you like your music as dark and rich as a glass of Claret.
Out via City Slang on March 25th.