The world is a dismal place: Britain’s Got Talent happens, America churns out radioactive pop guff like LeAnne Rimes and still, still, Mariah Carey lives on. You could forgive the world its misgivings though if Tindersticks had had just one hit record. Just one. Was that too much to ask?
Sure, they made six ‘classic’ albums, each one offering vaguely differing slants on their sodden, boozy balladeering (one was comparatively lo-fi, one was about the groove, another even approached soul). They also had nine visits to the Beeb to prove they could cut it live. Early track Her crops up three times, Tiny Tears is sweeping and as lost as ever, Bearsuit gamely hints at a malevolence always at the core of the Tindersticks sound. They cover Pavement. But still, no hits were forthcoming. Even something delicious, tear-jerking and ecstatic all at once, My Sister, a track written from the perspective of a brother seeing for his blind sister, who, when she gets her sight back, claims she would “never blink again”, remained distressingly below the radar.
It’s OK, though. They’d have spent it all on suits anyhow. The world is a bad place, and no one knew it better than Tindersticks.