CD Falling Down a Mountain [Digipak] (CD 6275402),
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Falling Down a Mountain [Digipak]
1. Falling Down a Mountain
2. Keep You Beautiful
3. Harmony Around My Table
5. She Rode Me Down
6. Hubbards Hills
7. Black Smoke
8. No Place so Alone
9. Factory Girls
10. Piano Music
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): CD 10065
Personnel: Igor Semenoff, Christophe Chatelle, Jeannot Gillis, Cristina Constantinescu, Antoine Maisonhaute, Isabelle Decraene, Michal Bonnay, Late Lee (violin); Vinciane Vinckenbosch, Laurence Genevoix, Romain Montfort (alto violin); Jeanne Maisonhaute, Sigrid Vandenboogaerde (cello).
Recording information: I.C.P. (05/2009-07/2009); Le Chien Chanceux (05/2009-07/2009); Nassau (05/2009-07/2009).
Photographer: Neil Fraser.
After eighteen years, they still soldier on... After a somewhat revised version of Tindersticks broke their five-year recording silence with 2008's The Hungry Saw, it took less than two years for the group (again with a few modifications to the lineup) to compound that successful return with another new album -- their eighth overall -- which stands as perhaps even more of an achievement and pleasant surprise than its very fine predecessor. While Saw offered a few rare glimmers of positivity and sweetness from Stuart Staples and company, it was essentially business as usual for the perennially moody Britons. Falling Down a Mountain isn't exactly a major reinvention, either, but it does back up the golden-hued sky gracing its cover with some of their most upbeat and optimistic songs to date (keep in mind those are relative terms), and a liberal extension of the looseness they've been gradually settling into since 1999's Simple Pleasure. The six-and-a-half minute title track is immediately striking, with its simmering, asymmetrical, jazzy groove buoying a hypnotically simple vocal riff and some uninhibited soloing from trumpeter Terry Edwards. "Harmony Around My Table" is a bouncy soul-pop number that might hardly be recognizable as Tindersticks if not for Staples' inimitable quavering baritone (as always, an acquired taste, like fine wine), while the low-key lovers' duet "Peanuts" sports a charmingly simple, slightly silly lyric, and the twinkling ballad "Keep You Beautiful," though a typically mellow affair, is uncharacteristically, almost achingly sweet. Elsewhere, the album takes on a vaguely Western tinge (again echoing the dusty cover landscape), with the galloping, lustful "She Rode Me Down," Edwards' lonesome flgelhorn on the Morricone-esque instrumental "Hubbard Hills," and the gritty, downright driving "Black Smoke." Eventually -- this being Tindersticks, after all -- the darkness does creep in: the deceptively buoyant "No Place So Alone" seethes with the jealousy of a jilted lover, and by the penultimate "Factory Girls," we find Staples brooding alone, doused in melancholy, feebly asserting that "it's the wine that makes me sad, not the love I never had." It's a typically mournful, typically lovely Tindersticks moment, made all the more exquisite here in contrast to the increased stylistic range that came before it. Sometimes, it just takes a slight change in scenery to help you appreciate what you've always had. ~ K. Ross Hoffman
Spin (p.92) - "'Hubbards Hills' and 'Piano Music' are stunning, multicolored epics that could turn lazy daydreams into mind-blowing fantasies."
Uncut (magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Tindersticks remain masters of mood-setting, making songs that are lyrically odd or potentially twee resonate with a cinematographer's sense of grandeur."
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