are happier than you think and sadder
than you can handle; their third album was supposed to
be their last, but there's another one on the way; and they're set to be the highlight of a spectacular Flux.
'lt's the best feeling, to make people quiet
THERE'S SOMETHING APPROPRIATE ABOUT THE TINDERSTICKS SHARING a Flux line-up with Nick Cave and John Cale. Not only do all of the above wear good suits. but they share fans with an odd, slightly religious attitude towards them. a conviction that their oeuvre somehow transcends mere music. They also tend to be erroneously tarred with the brush of Miserable Music For Slitting One’s Wrists To. To prove that this is a misconception. there follow some joyous moments from the Tindersticks‘ past:
‘My Sister‘. the mordantly funny and less-than-true story of a blind schoolgirl given to setting houses on fire and breaking the hearts of her teachers. 'Travelling Light'. the duet to end all duets. in which Stuart Staples’ claims to emotional detachment are shot down in ﬂames by his co-star. Carla Torgensen. who knows he’s only sitting under the leak in the roof to camouﬂage his tears. ‘A Marriage Made In Heaven’. the duet to revive duets again, in which Staples and Isabella Rossellini lampoon their own personas (she’s a spoilt brat actress. he’s a self— obsessed torch singer). The video for ‘Rented Rooms’, in which
22 THELIS‘I’ 19—26 Aug 1999
Staples. the man with the eyes of a slightly ironic spaniel and the voice of — well — a slightly ironic singing spaniel. does his maudlin thing backed by a clutch of feathered showgirls.
Then there’s the new album. their fourth (if one discounts the live one. the film soundtrack and the compilation of rarities). It is titled Simple Pleasm'es. which is in itself a little surprising. given that one associates the ’Sticks with the most complex of pleasures — dates with starlets. drunken nights in particularly baroque European cities. alarming sex. The fact that a fourth album exists at all confounds various claims made when Curtains was released. Its working title was The Last Tindersticks Album. and at the time. Staples said, ‘It’s very similar to our first two albums; but it’s the last of its kind. We’ll never make another one like it.’ What they have made, and what they will debut at Flux the same day it comes out. is an album of sad, smart soul songs. barer and paler than the bloody orchestral melodramas of old. It’s not a staggering departure — Staples still sounds like the weariest. saddest troubadour to lean on a bar since Tom Waits. and the songs still