Tindersticks The Hungry Saw

There’s a tense calm throughout this first album in five years by England’s Tindersticks, as they conjure a new aural plane, informed by their 15-year existence. Seemingly pursuing a solo career in 2005, Stuart Staples relocated to France and built a home studio. Though they played a one-off reunion show in 2006, Staples found the nostalgia off-putting and instead of facing down his legacy, drove himself to commandeer a reconfigured Tindersticks. That blend of whimsy, sly charm and melancholy found on Tindersticks songs since their earliest days blows through the smoky haze of The Hungry Saw, a wonderfully classy, coyly playful collection of coarse pop balladry. "Yesterdays Tomorrows” is a soulful sneak attack that neatly summarizes Staples’ dark optimism, while the title track’s kitschy groove masks an evil narrative worthy of Nick Cave. It’s not a precise polarity, per se, but The Hungry Saw captures the Tindersticks swaying majestically between incarnations for something heavy and meaningful. ()