If you were of the opinion that Tindersticks may have gone through some kind of drastic sea change brought on by their five-year hiatus and the absence of founding member and co- architect of their trademark sound, Dickon Hinchliffe, you are dead wrong. The band weathered the storm and on their seventh studio album, The Hungry Saw, the three remaining members of the band retain every last aspect of what made the band special (the inventive arrangements, the cinematic sweep of the songs, Stuart Staples' distinctive vocals) but also manage to sound rejuvenated and fresh at the same time. The last album they made before their split, Waiting for the Moon, seemed like it was just another in a long line of excellent releases by the band. The Hungry Saw is hungrier, more dramatic, and if not exactly urgent, it feels like the work of a band with something to prove. Staples, in particular, brings something extra to both his vocals (clearer than usual and with more bite) and lyrics ("The Hungry Saw" has some of his most powerfully visceral words to date). It is one of his best performances in a long career full of them. The arrangements too are given extra care. The horn arrangements by longtime associate Terry Edwards are superb and the strings sound rich and suitably dramatic on the heavy ballads and breezy on the light ones. The addition of Suzanne Osborne's wordless backing vocals on the lovely and harrowing "All the Love" are a welcome touch of sunshine too. As is the candy sweet melody and acoustic strum of the almost poppy "Boobar Come Back to Me." Not that the record is a smile fest by any stretch, there is still enough chill blowing through it to make your teeth hurt. It wouldn't be a Tindersticks record without that, and songs like "The Other Side of This World" and "Mother Dear" have enough sadness coursing through them to satisfy the needs of any gloom junky who has come to count on the band for a quick fix. Indeed, Tindersticks have never failed to satisfy anyone looking not only for sadness but also those looking for albums that make you feel and songs that will stick with you for a long time. The Hungry Saw is classic Tindersticks.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra