After four years, Salford electro-pop duo The Ting Tings return to the music scene with their eagerly anticipated second album, Sounds from Nowheresville.
Their raw, catchy and toe-tapping debut album We Started Nothing had a look-at-us-this-is-what-we-are-all-about feel to it, and cemented The Ting Tings as big hitters on the electro-pop circuit.
However, electro-pop is by no means the only musical genre on their follow-up. Essences of rock, ska, rap and hip hop are all prominent on the album, creating the effect of a random playlist than the progression of an album, which is, reportedly, the effect Katie White and Jules de Martino were gunning for.
Fans of the first album will be pleased to know that there is still plenty to enjoy. Certainly, lead single ‘Hang it Up’ and ‘Guggenheim’ have the same memorable, demanding hooks that made their debut album so popular.
Guggenheim is nothing short of intriguing. It blends an almost spoken verse with one of the quirkiest, catchiest hooks you will hear this year. Despite it carrying the sense of a love-it-or-hate-it record, either way, you will find yourself humming it for a while.
Other winners are atmospheric opener Silence, Soul Killing, a ska-influenced finger drummer, and One By One, which boasts a synth not too dissimilar to New Order’s Blue Monday.
However, there are places where the album doesn’t quite hit the target. The frankly bizarre ‘Hit Me Down Sonny’ and slightly tedious ‘Help’ sadly don’t work well at all and probably won’t go down well with TTT die-hards.
Credit to Katie White and Jules de Martino for their experimentation, and boldly scrapping a lot of their pre-recorded material to rebuild and create this album.
Nevertheless, you get the sense that they have tried to do too much. By cramming so many genres, sounds and effects into ten tracks, they have sacrificed a portion of why they became so popular and original in the first place.
There’s no place in music for replication, even in today’s leech infested charts, so credit where credit’s due in terms of branching out and trying to develop their sound, but you sense that this has not quite cut the mustard as an album.
However, many of these tracks do stay in your head, which is what The Ting Tings are all about.