With his signature smoky baritone still in check after nearly two decades fronting Tindersticks Stuart A. Staples remains one of the most distinctive singers in the business and one of the easiest on the ears. Comparisons can be made — some Scott Walker here a little Nick Cave there — but Staples’s velvety glide with a hint of grit is his alone.
Some may have counted the Nottingham England group down when it lost three of six original members back in 2007 but on Falling Down a Mountain Tindersticks brings the fire. The album opens with nearly two minutes of loungy film-noir-esque instrumentation before launching into its title track maintaining this haunted mood throughout. Highlights include the Loaded -era Velvet Underground country-rock of “Black Smoke” Latin-inflected spaghetti western lament “She Rode Me Down” and “Peanuts” a puppy-love duet between Staples and cult Canadian musician-actress Mary Margaret O’Hara.