“This is how he entered, how he came in—with an open heart and his eyes wide…”

The Waiting Room‘ is the Tindersticks’ new album, released January 22 2016. It was recorded at ‘Le chien chanceux’ by Stuart A. Staples and sometimes with Sam Naval—bass and strings recorded by George Murphy.

Tindersticks follow their unique velvet, soulful, midnight chamber-pop path with alcohol, cigarettes, melancholy and darkness, meeting the kindred spirits of Scott Walker, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Serge Gainsburg that seem to be lurking around in that darkness of theirs. The baritone voice of Stuart A. Staples, 25 years since day one, still sweeps along in our consciousness.

The eleven tracks of ‘The Waiting Room‘ are accompanied by a short-film project in deluxe editions of the album. In this, various filmmakers, friends of the band, such as Denis, Gregorio Graziosi, Christoph Girardet, and Pierre Vinour attempt to produce an interpretation of each one of the eleven tracks. This visual project emphasizes the feeling of melancholy, loneliness and emptiness.

The Waiting Room‘ is a typical Tindersticks album: dark and jazzy, smoky and dreamy, gentle and warm. The opener, ‘Follow Me‘ is a beautiful, nostalgic instrumental, the first out of two instrumental pieces of the album (‘Fear of Emptiness‘, equally sentimental and sweet, being the second one). ‘Hey Lucinda‘, a duet recorded at Hotel2Tango in Montreal, produced by Stuart A. Staples and mastered by John Dent at Loud, is a soft waltz whisper, one where Stuart Staples ‘meets’ great Canadian chanteuse Lhasa de Sela, who died unfortunately of cancer in 2010. Another duet, ‘We Are Dreamers‘ (Stuart A. Staples in commune with Jehnny Beth from Savages) sneaks in some more gloom. A highlight of the album is ‘How He Entered‘, an excellent spoken-word piece by Stuart Staples, which calls to mind Alpha (‘Come from Heaven‘) and The Bathers (‘Kelvingrove Baby‘), with a superb black & white short film by Gregorio Graziosi. Finally, ‘Like Only Lovers Can‘ is an exquisite masterpiece with flowering jazzy vibes, one of the best songs they have ever written, a song that you can listen to again and again.

Tindersticks are back. They continue to grow, like an excellent, 25-year-old smoky malt whiskey.

Theodoros Rentesis