PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 September, 1999, 12:00am

Tindersticks - Simple Pleasure (Quicksilver) If you are in a bit of a grim mood and prefer to stay at home with the curtains closed, this is the album for you.

Singer Stuart A Staples is so lugubrious in his delivery he makes the Addams Family butler, Lurch, sound like a happy-go-lucky music-hall act.

His diction is foggy enough to require the listener's unwavering attention, while the music behind the low, growling voice usually has a muted, muddy quality that makes the players sound diffident. That approach is reflected in the band's attitude towards press and publicity, neither of which they seek, and the low-key assault on the hearts and minds of fans via their eight albums since 1992. Immense popularity has been the result of their dignified, reticent approach - although that would count for nothing without a solid musical base.

And despite the pedestrian pace, not relieved here until some Doors-style keyboards up the tempo halfway through, the music nags away at the listener until it is stuck between the ears.

The reading of Odyssey's classic If You're Looking for A Way Out flows like treacle, and epitomises the slow, soulful theme of the set. Recorded live, a stream of black humour also runs through it, so maybe the band were having fun after all. Stick with this record, and you will, too. Eventually.