Tindersticks : Can Our Love…

Atmosphere, everybody loves a party atmosphere

Caption competition time. The sleeve of the Tindersticks’ new album features singer Stuart Staples nuzzling alongside one of the homeless donkeys from the Sidmouth Sanctuary. If anyone can beat Dobbin saying “Why the long face, Stu?” we’ll be surprised.

Back to indie-land after a foreshortened stint with Island, the ‘Sticks’ glasses remain half-empty, Staples continues to sing like Fozzie Bear and the sky outside is still grey with the ever-impending threat of light drizzle.

1999’s ‘Simple Pleasure’ saw Staples indulging a rather curious fascination with the duskier end of ’70s soul. Two years later, that passing fancy has developed into a morbid obsession.

‘Can Our Love…’ reeks of mouldy Stax LPs and Staples even allows himself a not entirely ridiculous Isaac-Hayes-style spoken intro on ‘No Man In The World’. So have they allowed themselves to be consumed by joy in their darkest hour? No. C’mon, this is the Tindersticks.

[I]”Can our love grow any further?”[/I] asks Staples on the title track. For an Al Green or a Marvin Gaye that would be a statement

of pure elation but for the ‘Sticks, it’s a mournful reading of an emotional bank statement – ‘that’s our love? That’s all there is.’

The same old sombre samba, perhaps, but with a renewed sense of direction, it’s threatening to take them somewhere fantastic. [I]”We never understood what we had, never knew how to deal with it”[/I], mumbles Staples on ‘No Man In The World’. ‘Can Our Love…’ is proof that the Tindersticks will never make that mistake again.

Jim Wirth