Now resembling a kind of cross between Tosh Lines and Frank Burnside (both formerly of the Bill), Stuart Staples takes a break from Tindersticks to make his first solo LP in 13 years. The album has an unusual structure consisting of four songs but with one clocking in at thirty minutes in length, Staples has created a unique and experimental piece of work.
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Though Tindersticks' Stuart Staples second full length album under his own name has references to his parent band, this is a bold move away into to new territories. It consists of four long form songs - opener 'A New Real' is fairly straightforward and begins with his distinctive voice over a slow moving drum machine and dub effects before lovely organ and drum machine comes into play. None of this can prepare you for 'Memories of Love' which is utterly gorgeous - his voice is almost unrecognisable, a sweet whisper over beautifully minimal organ and gently played cymbals. It sounds like....wait for it...Talk Talk. It has the same sense of jazz-inflected beauty - he must have taken sole influence from 'Laughing Stock' for this. It is exquisite. 'Step Into the Grey' returns to the sounds of 'A New Real' with Staples voice returning to it's normal timbre before the track evolves off into an oddball slightly discordant orchestral workout.
The closing track 'Music For A Year In Small Paintings' is the albums side long centre piece. Again it brings Talk Talk to mind but more obviously Paddy McAloon's wondrous solo album 'I Trawl the Megahertz'. It is evocative and slow moving classical inspired music - more of a soundtrack than anything. Staples voice is nowhere to be found.
At times it could test the patience of anyone wanting the more standard songwriting of Tindersticks but Staples is breaking brave new ground here and it's remarkably lovely.
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