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The Independent Culture


The Tindersticks have lightened up - by their standards. You could still imagine the six of them hunched despondently over their whiskeys at five in the morning, muttering about French films with Scott Walker, Lee Hazlewood and Nick Cave, but this album is probably as accessible as the group will ever get. For one thing, Simple Pleasure is half as long as their previous LPs. Each track was recorded in a single take - almost all within a week last October - which gives the music a loose, live feel. There are slinky string parts, cooing female backing vocals and brass that wouldn't be out of place on an Al Green song. "Before You Close Your Eyes" might be almost funky if it weren't for the band's determination to make an album without disturbing the neighbours. As ever, how much pleasure you get from the album will depend on how seriously you can take Stuart Staples's wobbly, club-singer baritone. But if you don't mind the sound of someone crooning while drinking a glass of water, you'll find this record a gem: a long, dark night ... with soul.