Here’s a harrowing recent track from Tindersticks with an unfathomable brooding mood and a video of bleak giant dumper trucks by Brazilian director Gabriel Sanna. To say ‘industrial’ in tone would be wrong, to say ‘melancholy’ would also not fit, yet it’s somewhere abstract and striking in between.
Tindersticks have always seemed to have subtle eccentricities and almost secret tongue in cheek social commentary in their lyrics and delivery behind on the surface what is masterful romantic arrangements, incredible poetry and scintillating solemn themes. Stuart Staples just has one of those voices that is always authentic in it’s deep solemn tones in a familiar and comforting way even when he’s singing about the most awful heartbreak or difficulties. I remember a weird summer as a teenager where I just listened to the whole of the band’s ‘Can Our Love?’ album on repeat (bought by mistake thinking it was somehow another Mark Kozelek project due to mixup of images on google back before the internet sorted itself out), watched ‘Jimmys Farm’ on TV (it somehow resonated with the farmyard style images of the sleeve) and wandered about in a velvet jacket, marveling in the slow unbridled emotion of the music.
Looking at the video here, perhaps the imagery is dig at bleak modern consumer culture? or would that be too obvious perhaps it’s simply to illustrate life’s monotony and uniformity or perhaps they are just random and there’s no meaning at all? with Tindersticks you can either read more into things or not and still have an incredibly full on experience. Who is this illusive young woman in the video, wearing a short skirt following the trucks to their deposit locations with a spade as if to make sure the seemingly easy to achieve goal of dumping dirt is completed?
Maybe it is all kind of an Albert Camus Myth of Sisyphus plot illustrating a ghostly and tired existence of moving from stage to stage in life, possessions and lovers being carted around like dirt ultimately to end up as dust (depending on what you believe on the afterlife of course) or maybe Sanna has concocted something completely new here that no one is capable of understanding or comprehending with this video, it’s certainly got me thinking… That’s some deep stuff and this is high end music and art, not to be cheeky… However, one still likes to imagine Mr. Sanna fighting off seagulls and arguing with dis-understanding landfill site workers in his mission to create this masterful setting and scenes. Behind art and music there is always real people and real things, despite how abstract and beyond us amazingly structured and detailed music like this can sometimes be and this video and track shows us that with a stark reality. There’s no easy hook or melody here or instant gratification. This is real. “Dumper truck wheels is all you’re getting, until you’ve realized what a fool you’ve been!”
To conclude, before my brain implodes: from what I’ve heard of the new album out 22nd Jan it’s promising to be another great one to add to the scores that this band have done (The Hungry Saw, Self-titled debut and Curtains to name a few more) and apparently each track has a director on call for a video, so watch out for them… Lucky are the young men and women who drift into hearing Tindersticks and stick with the bands full and rich substance for more than a quick velvet jacket wearing summer.