Posted by: Ryan Allen on September 24, 2008 at 10:00 am

Tindersticks, The Hungry Saw (Constellation Records, 2008)

MP3: “Yesterday Tomorrows”

The title sounds like it could be a children’s album, and with song names like “Come Feel the Sun” and “Boobar Come Back To Me,” it would be an understandable mistake. But unless your kid wears a smoking jacket, requests Albert Camus essays for bedtime stories and casually throws around phrases like, “This wine has the perfect blend of oaky notes and fruit tones,” The Hungry Saw is probably not for them. Led by the unmistakable gravelly baritone of Stuart Staples, Tindersticks have been making exquisitely dark orchestral pop for the last 17 years or so. In 2005 it looked like it might be curtains for the group, but the band tentatively regrouped last year and The Hungry Saw was born. Their first album in five years marks a resounding return to form. Recorded in Staples’ own exquisite home recording studio in France, the hallmarks that begat a rabidly devoted fan base back in the early 90′s are all present: slowly building, dramatic song structure, gorgeously haunting string arrangements, delicately sustained piano, playful experimentation, and wrenching tales of love and loss, good and evil. “Sometimes I wonder about the turns we took to get here,” Staples croons on the album’s closer, but it’s clear that whatever turns were taken to get to The Hungry Saw, Tindersticks have been led right back to where they needed to be. — Laura Witkowski

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