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Stuart A. Staples is back

| October 25, 2006 | 0 Comments

Stuart A. Staples
Leaving Songs/Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04
(Beggars Banquet)

In time for his U.S. tour, Beggars Banquet reissues Stuart A. Staples’ U.S. debut repackaged with his first album, Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04.

stuart

Coaxing himself out of the shadows, Staples hardly sounds lost without his Tindersticks mates on Leaving Songs. There’s the Glaswegian glow of “Old Friends No.1,” a vibrant duet with Maria McKee on “This Road Is Long,” and the haunting austerity of “Already Gone” hitting the same, somber spot from different angles. The showcase remains Staples’ rich bass, which never attempts to rise near baritone and maintains a soulful, gravediggin’ cadence, like jazz cabaret in a pitch-black parlor. (The sun does eventually peek from behind the clouds on “One More Time,” even while offering, “There’s a part of me that’s lonely, baby.”) Leaving Songs is less ranging than Tindersticks usually proved to be, and Staples isn’t nearly as cerebral nor as obtuse here as the Scott Walker comparisons he gets thrown.

Compared to Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04, Leaving Songs is streamlined. The debut cooly opens on the breathy, overdubbed harmonies of Gina Foster before signaling its true intent on “Marseilles Sunshine,” which finds Staples lurking wet, cobblestone streets at dawn. “Say Something Now” slowly removes its sutures and gets its guts all over the place with surprising intensity, immediately offset by the flickering bossa nova of “Friday Night.” The second half isn’t quite as strong, but follows the script adequately.

7

— Steve Forstneger

Appearing: November 1st at Abbey Pub in Chicago.

Category: Spins, Weekly

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