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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Dec 2019 > Learning To Love

Learning To Love

If you’re a respected band 26 years and 11 albums into your career, you’d be forgiven for coasting by now. Instead, Tindersticks have written a majestic album in a new country, recorded live for the first time and they’ve even produced their first ever love song. John Earls meets singer Stuart Staples to hear how his Greek love affair has been tainted and why his band are suddenly being compared to Westlife

The music of Tindersticks has evolved so much since their self-titled 1993 debut that it shouldn’t be a surprise how downright funny singer Stuart Staples is. His lyrics are often bleakly comic, his band’s music has long carried a soulful empathy. But witnessing Staples laugh – and frequently – is an unexpected delight. In a pub in Shoreditch near Tindersticks’ management offices, Staples is happily bemused at how he’s finally managed to write the first love song of his career.

Pinky In The Daylight is a disarmingly simple ballad, which nestles perfectly on the band’s 11th album No Treasure But Hope. It’s even got a key change a boyband could do serious damage with. “I know,” laughs Staples, his dark eyes alight with mischief. “Lucy, who leads our string section, said: ‘That’s a Westlife song!’ when that key change developed during rehearsals. It’s my first ever pure love song and it’s not how I usually write, but it just happened.” The song was written in just 10 minutes while Staples and his artist wife Suzanne were on a ferry one sunny after noon.

“There’s something very liberating about writing a song like Pinky In The Daylight,” he smiles, recovering from a laughing fit at the idea of Tindersticks performing the song on stools and rising up in sync during that key change. “I always try to stay true to the idea of a song, not make it into something I feel should be my sensibility. After writing songs for 30-odd years, I’ve learned I have to trust those moments.”

Writing love songs is far from the only innovation for Tindersticks on No Treasure But Hope. The album was written wholly in Crete, at a house 50 yards from the sea, where he divides his time “roughly half-and-half” with the home in central France where he, Suzanne and their four children moved in 2003. “I’m slightly apprehensive about making Greece the centre of my world, as it’s great to go there to lose yourself from everything else,” Staples explains. “I feel different by the sea. If you spend time every day by the sea, it affects how you think about things. Greece is a place to take stock, and these songs definitely come from that.” Another laugh, lighter than you’d expect from someone blessed with that lugubrious singing voice. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of the songs I wrote for so long in South East London, too.”

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About Long Live Vinyl

The Clash, Gang Of Four, Buzzcocks, The Pop Group… 1979 was a hell of a year for music! Our epic cover feature tells the true story behind one of the most influential albums of all time, London Calling, as a new deluxe 40th anniversary reissue is unveiled. We also speak to a host of bands who wouldn't have existed without The Clash's revolutionary masterpiece. In other 1979 news, we've rounded up the key members of the post-punk movement that shaped one of British music's greatest years to tell us why it was so special and dig out some of the essential records from the final year of the 70s. Elsewhere, we count down the 40 greatest double albums of all time, London Calling included – from Tago Mago to Daydream Nation via Songs In The Key Of Life and The White Album. How many have you got? Talking of great classic albums, we take an in-depth look at Gene Clark's lost masterpiece No Other, finally given a reissue by 4AD this month. And our packed interviews section brings you chats with ELO legend Jeff Lynne, rising Irish folk heroes Lankum, indie veterans Stereophonics and Tindersticks as they tell us about their new albums. If all that's not enough you'll find a host of new release and reissue reviews from the likes of Nick Cave, The Rolling Stones, Prince, R.E.M., The Who, FKA Twigs and Michael Kiwanuka, as well as the latest turntable reviews. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers.