Album review: The Waiting Room by Tindersticks is strangely uplifting and comforting

As with many of Tindersticks’ previous albums, there is a feminine touch, provided by guest vocalists.

The Waiting Room


(City Slang)

Four stars

For the past 25 years, no band has musically embodied the sound of a world-weary sigh quite as evocatively as Tindersticks. Nothing much changes on this, the Nottingham band’s 10th studio album, which is as strangely uplifting and comforting as the nine that came before it.

After the instrumental opener Follow Me, vocalist Stuart A Staples settles into a familiar, breathy groove on Second Chance Man – it's effortlessly suave, with trademark understatement.

The 50-year-old frontman has an economically dexterous way with words that, by comparison, can make even erudite listeners feel like their personal-expression abilities are on the level of a primary-school child.

As with many of Tindersticks’ previous albums, there is a feminine touch here, provided by guest vocalists.

Savages' Jehnny Beth adds sultry flourishes to We Are Dreamers!, but most haunting is Hey Lucinda, a duet with the late New York-born singer-songwriter Lhasa de Sela, who succumbed to cancer in 2010. The song stays largely the same in the melancholic world of Tindersticks, but their trusted love-death-sadness formula remains far from formulaic.