Tindersticks – Across Six Leap Years (Lucky Dog/City Slang)

To celebrate 21 years together Tindersticks have re-recorded 10 songs from their catalogue in London’s famed Abbey Road Studios. Actually it’s technically eight Tindersticks songs, with the first two tracks coming from Stuart Staples’ solo album Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04 – an odd choice for an album designed to celebrate his band’s anniversary. The results are, as anyone who’s been following the band might guess, a sparse take on chamber-pop and soul, heavily defined by Staples’ confessional lyrics and froggy quiver of a voice. This presents a bit of a problem because that’s exactly how you’d describe the original versions of these songs. In fact, these new recordings are so similar to originals you’d need to play them side by side to find the subtle differences. It raises a pretty important question – does Across Six Leap Years need to exist? Well, it sounds fine, if occasionally listless, but if you’ve got the originals you’re all set – no need to plunk down money to hear something so similar. Even if you don’t have the original versions of Across’s songs, you’re still better off picking up one of the band’s other albums as a starting point.