For fans only.

Expectation: Tindersticks is an English alternative rock band that has been releasing albums since the early 90’s. The Waiting Room marks the band’s 11th album.

TRACK-BY-TRACK:

  • Follow Me – A soothing intro that pulls the listener into the calm, contemplative mood the album explores.
  • Second Chance Man – A simple song done in an interesting way. The saxophones are a nice touch, and the guitar and drums do an excellent job of directing the dynamics of the song, connecting each section smoothly to the next.
  • Were We Once Lovers? – Probably the most relaxed that I’ve ever heard a slapped bass line sound, with mounting synth arpeggios that somehow sound more at atmospheric than frantic, as if the individual notes are unimportant and what matters is the sound of each note being covered up by the next. The symphonic arrangements are really nice too, giving the song a sort of climax without taking out the sleepy vibe.
  • Help Yourself – Showing a bit of 70’s soul influence (the Maurice White kind, not the George Clinton kind) and delivering a nice little groove. However, if there was a song that would have benefited from the band upping the intensity, its probably this one.
  • Hey Lucinda – The vocals here actually work really well. Its a simple song, but its very nice if you’re in the right mood.
  • The Fear of Emptiness – An okay instrumental track. Not a fan of the dissonance here.
  • How He Entered – About as good as a musical monologue can be expected to be; at least the symphonic arrangements are still pretty. You won’t be coming back to it, but it doesn’t detract from the album either.
  • The Waiting Room – While most of the songs here at least cater to the singer’s voice, this song would just be better with someone else. The melody is nice, with appropriate instrumentation backing it, but the singer’s voice is just wrong for this kind of song. I cringe a bit every time he does the “high note”.
  • Planting Holes – Just a gentle little interlude. I like it.
  • We Are Dreamers! – The arrangement is kind of cool, but the again, the singer’s voice is just wrong.
  • Like Only Lovers Can – A pretty good closer, returning to the sleepy, calming style that dominated the beginning of the album.

Overall: The Waiting Room starts and ends strong, but there are some serious bumps in the road on the back half of the album. While I’m not familiar with Tindersticks’s older work, I am aware that the current singer is not the original, and I can only assume that the former singer had a voice better suited for tracks like ‘The Waiting Room’, because there is no reason that this guy should be singing that type of song. Otherwise, the instrumental side of things was pretty consistently good and created a nice atmosphere, with some especially pretty moments coming from the symphonic arrangements. Everything up to ‘Hey Lucinda’ is pretty good, but there just aren’t many good moments after that.

Score: 4.5/10

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