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Tindersticks

Waiting for the Moon (Beggars Banquet)

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You've probably seen that guy who's been sliding onto the same rickety stool in the same dingy corner bar. Tindersticks is that guy. For a decade now, the British sextet has been serving up ever-so-slight variations of its tortured cabaret-pop, which paints an image of Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker, Bryan Ferry and Jarvis Cocker scattered about some barren lounge, slowly getting hammered. Waiting for the Moon is no different. Singer Stuart Staples' brooding baritone is the band's moodiest component -- it oozes regret on such tracks as "Sometimes It Hurts" and "My Oblivion." Watchin' the days go by/Isn't half the fun it used to be, Staples laments on "Sweet Memory" as lilting strings, country-blues guitar and muted piano drape over his despair. Of the album's ten tracks, only "4:48 Psychosis" -- a reference to a play about the time of morning one is most likely to commit suicide -- deviates from that instrumental norm, with a velvet groove and spoken lyrics. But Tindersticks concluded long ago that when you've found your niche and it's nearly flawless, there's really no reason to go anywhere else.

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