Falling Down a Mountain - Constellation
FILTER Grade: 84%
By Bernardo Rondeau on March 22, 2010
Consistency is underrated. Four years after shedding half of its members, among them co-songwriter and occasional lead singer Dickon Hinchliffe, Tindersticks delivers its eighth album, showing few signs of any significant change. In fact, since toning down the suavely opulent strings that wafted through its first three long-players, the English group has continued to mine the same sort of stark, elegantly brooding pop found on Falling Down the Mountain. The inimitable voice of Stuart A. Staples remains the Tindersticks’ calling card. His pinched, dark-chocolate lead smudges out consonants while smoldering melodies of dry-eyed abandonment. Falling Down a Mountain may be the band’s most tuneful effort, or at least their peppiest, with the slightly wigged-out opener notwithstanding. “Peanuts,” the requisite duet, finds Staples and Mary Margaret O’Hara softly trading rumpled couplets on what could either be a shared affinity for the baseball snack, or Charles Schulz’s strip. Both “Harmony Around My Table” and “Black Smoke” seriously shimmy and stomp like few Tindersticks songs do, whilst “She Rode Me Down” is a Spaghetti Western rollick. The songs may not linger like they used to, but “Factory Girls” is still a towering torch song, while the two instrumentals, “Piano Music” and “Hubbards Hills,” drift with the graceful glow of a sunset.