Epiphany Episcopal Church; Thu 12
Easily one of the best bands to come out of Nottingham, England (admittedly, beating a rather shallow pool of Stereo MCs and Fudge Tunnel), Tindersticks still remain on the fringes of the mainstream despite releasing seven stunning albums since their inception in 1992. The lead singer, Stuart Staples, may be a graduate of the Leonard Cohen school of bittersweet melancholy, but don’t be put off if you’re looking for something to cheer you up in this seasonal and economic winter.
There’s always been heartrending, moody beauty in the lacework of the group’s maudlin chamber-pop, even if the strings and brass of old have been downsized to a raw core of Staples, drummer-organist David Boulter and guitarist-vibraphonist Neil Fraser. The band’s latest offering, The Hungry Saw (Beggars Banquet, 2008), treads the same dark and soulful path that’s become its emotional trademark since day one, but for once Staples throws a bit of wry, self-aware humor into the mix. “It’s not so serious after all,” he quips on “Mother Dear.” You can hear his self-effacing wink through the muted drumbeats and hazy organ—proof that it’s not all doom and gloom for this most charismatic of singers.
Considering their penchant for soul searching, Tindersticks’ decision to play the Near West Side’s Epiphany Episcopal Church for their Chicago show couldn’t be more fitting. Expect majestic orchestrations, contemplative lyrics and flashes of color that illuminate their downbeat noir melodies like rays of light through stained glass.