Monday, July 1, 2013

Album Review: Stuart A. Staples - Leaving Songs

Stuart A Staples released his second solo album in 2006, while Tindersticks were on hiatus.  It’s not dramatically different from Tindersticks, but it is far more realized than his first solo album.  Opening song Old Friends No. 1 commences with a classic Staples line: “It's not that I don't love you, or are tired of your ways, I want you to know” while the music acts as a throwback to their Tindersticks II era sound.
Which Way The Wind has a full brass and sweeping string section but the rest of the album is mainly sparser and low-key, which allows Staples’ voice to breathe, sounding even more careworn and weary than usual.  There Is A Path is softened by female vocals but what’s more distinctive here are the little steel guitar touches on This Road Is Long countrifying things before a jaded-sounding Maria McKee joins him on a wonderful duet.  One More Time and later This Old Town have a similar feel, again with steel guitar.
He also duets with Llasa de Sela on That Leaving Feeling, which has a really sunny, optimistic feel to it, helped in no small way by mariachi horns.  But overall, if you like Tindersticks, this will be familiar ground, and you’ll love it.