“The Waiting Room,” the eleventh studio album from British indie rock group Tindersticks, came out on Jan. 22, and it leaves a lot to be desired.
The 11-track album starts with an instrumental piece called “Follow Me.” It had beautiful orchestral sounds, but other than that, there’s not much to say.
“Second Chance Man” had the singer’s vocals far too obscured and manipulated to fully appreciate the piece. Though the melody was particularly catchy and enjoyable, it was hard to understand what was going on half the time.
“Were We Once Lovers?” is a somewhat melodically bland piece whose melody doesn’t really go anywhere for the first few minutes of the song. Its saving grace is its message and powerful lyrics, such as “how can I care if it’s the caring that’s killing me.”
“Help Yourself” and “Hey Lucinda” both also struggle with a fairly stagnant melody, leaving the listener craving for a journey that won’t come. “Hey Lucinda” also had elements that were reminiscent of an early Beatles’ song.
“This Fear of Emptiness” is another instrumental piece that at times employed elements of an ambient style. Its ending was dark and unsettling, but overall, an enjoyable piece.
“How He Entered” had nothing particularly memorable to it. The vocals were handled interestingly, employing a talking vocal instead of traditional singing.
“The Waiting Room,” the album’s namesake, was the best on the album. A very dark and eerie piece, the song was a silent plead, with the line “don’t let me suffer” repeated again and again.
“Planting Holes” was a very pretty piano piece. The only qualm with it is that its minute and a half time-span should have been lengthened.
“We Are Dreamers!” had a great message about not letting people hold back your dreams, acting defiant and steadfast in your beliefs. Melodically bland, but worth the lyrical significance.
The album’s closing track, “Like Only Lovers Can,” is a dark piece that leaves the listener unsettled. With lines like “we can only hurt the way that lovers can / we hurt each other,” its emotional components make it soul-clenching, despite its melodic blandness.
Overall, though it does stick closely to the group’s roots in the style of chamber pop/baroque pop, most of these songs’ melodies left the listener wanting more, knowing that Tindersticks could – and should – have done more aesthetically. That, coupled with the distortion of the vocals on several tracks, made it difficult to understand the lyrics and overall messages of these works on numerous occasions. Though they were nice and soothing to listen to, several of these songs did nothing much to make themselves memorable.