This is a record that is sad, yes, but not really that sad by Tindersticks standards. It reminds me a lot of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ The Lyre of Orpheus in production, instrumentation and sound. Although I have to say it’s nowhere near as brilliant as Orpheus.
‘Harmony Around My Table’, the third track, rocks up with some hand claps and rhyming couplets, which is strange considering that the first and title track is a good six and half minutes of improvised jazz, and the second track, ‘Keep You Beautiful’ lilts along with some typical Tindersticks melancholy; delicate brushes on drums, echoing harmonies, almost-not-there enunciation on minimalist lyrics… and then here we are with some hand claps and doo-doo-doos.
It’s followed by ‘Peanuts’ which has pretty much the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard in my life, “I know you love peanuts/ and I love you/ so I love peanuts too,” which wouldn’t even be so bad if they didn’t end on a sappy major cadence that makes me want to be a little bit ill.
The next track ‘She Rode Me Down’ is incredible, with a great Western-sounding guitar pattern, harking more back to a Nick Cave of ‘Red Right Hand’ or ‘Tupelo’ than, you know, other more vanilla stuff. There’s a flute solo, storm sounds, and lyrics like “She rode me like a train” followed in the next verse by the development, “She rode me like a pony/ like a pony chasing the train/ like the ripples across the surface of my dream/ she rode me down/ like I was falling”.
The rest of the record is pretty coherent and makes sense and is enjoyable to listen to, mature, complex, epic, and at times quite delicate and moving. It’s a bit of a mixed up record, but not all bad.