Excepting perhaps Supertramp and this band I used to see all the time in high school called Bongzilla, Nottingham, England's Tindersticks are rock's most appropriately named outfit. The band starts with the dry ingredients of a painfully tasteful record collectionlush Scott Walker arrangements, cracked Leonard Cohen vocalizing, sweet Curtis Mayfield throband through a force of will honed by enduring miserable weather and hanging around artsy French filmmakers, transforms the raw materials into a virtual wildfire of elegant melancholy. Waiting for the Moon, the band's latest album and the follow-up to its soundtrack for Claire Denis' 2001 film Trouble Every Day, begins in the group's usual style: "My hands around your throat," secondary singer Dickon Hinchcliffe sighs over a gingerly strummed acoustic guitar in the supremely creepy "Until the Morning Comes." "If I kill you now, well, they'll never know." It's a lie, of course, as these well-dressed gentlemen would certainly feel compelled to write a song about something as dark and gothic as that; still, the dappled nuance of the music will make you want to believe him. Elsewhere, frontman Stuart Staples, whose mush-mouthed croon conjures 50 Cent in a rumpled Prada suit, goes Nick Cave exploring in the bleakly carnivalesque title track, and plays Serge Gainsbourg to Lhasa de Sala's Brigitte Bardot in the twilit duet "Sometimes It Hurts," which glumly observes that "what once burned so brightly is all but smoke in the air." A salad of influences, then, but tossed just so. MIKAEL WOOD
Tindersticks play Showbox at 8 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 7, with Crooked Fingers. $20 adv./$22.