Monday, July 07, 2008

CD Review No 14 - The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing

Like most debut albums 'We Started Nothing has a musical styling that is patchy. I think THE TING TINGS were plucked for stardom when they weren't quite ready for it, their ideas not yet fully formed. Still an album where half of it is brilliant, a quarter passable, and the rest a trifle feeble, but unoffensive. is acceptable in these barren days. They've certainly brightened up my Summer for me. The breadth of influences is impressive, and at their best they manage to weld these into that recognisable unique and punchy Ting Tings sound. As a drum and voice combo, rhythmically and vocally they are obviously strong, both aspects always propel each song along. Much is made of Katies's voice in the mix, its muti-tracked, layered and counterpointed. Yet that sulky stroppiness survives throughout.

GREAT DJ - A great opener,a tinny strummed guitar opens, the drums pummel in, then Katie & Jules voices sing together. 'Fed up with your indigestion. swallow worries one by one' urging us that we ' got to love the BPM.' Its simplicity is what makes it addictive, with its naive geeky chorus of 'Imagine all the girls - AAAAAAAA- And the Boys -AAAAAAAA - And the strings - EEEEEEEEE - And the Drums , the Drums the Drums' I've not heard lyrics so unaffectedly delightful since Talking Head's first album.

THAT'S NOT MY NAME - An almost perfectly structured pop production. Building from that simple opening drum beat, adding in hand claps and vocal rapping, till we get to the catchy chorus. They give this too us this twice then comes the crooned break of 'Are you calling me darling? - Are you calling me bird?' continuing in the background, as the drums and guitar come thundering back in, layer the main vocal chorus on top, plus some filtered words intoned by Jules - and you have pop magic. It doesn't let up,your interest never fades, because it's always giving you something new to be intoxicated by.

FRUIT MACHINE - Very retro sixties sounding track, with traces of the B52's in the vocals. Rolls along nicely,developing its ideas without quite reaching the heights of the last track.

TRAFFIC LIGHT - A rather slight track, which abruptly changes the style from the opening power pop, to indie whimsy. The lyrical idea is a bit of an overstretched and feeble metaphor. Possibly the albums weakest track.

SHUT UP AND LET ME GO - Ah, yes, at last we're back on track again with this sublime bit of indie funk pop, with that guitar riff so reminiscent of early Talking Heads.

KEEP YOUR HEAD - Yeh! Yeh! Yeh! give me that gutsy vocal delivery, with unmistakably strong echoes of the B52's, with the odd nod, via the electronic rumbling in the background, to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Spunky man!

BE THE ONE - Sounds very eighties, the vocal chorus reminds me strangely of Prefab Sprout.

WE WALK - Starts off with a rambling piano intro, which builds into a track with a strong walking beat. Love the way it finishes with that breathy Ah,Ah A U Ah vocal rhythm

IMPACILLA CARPISUNA - What this penultimate track is all about is any ones guess, sounds like its lyrics might have been found in a Japanese sushi bar. Art school or what? - still its entertainingly batty.

WE STARTED NOTHING - Eponymous and concluding track, which runs for twice as long as any of its predecessors -I would prefer it if they keep 'em short. It's structured around a basic guitar riff, which feels like it was stolen from Primal Scream, or someone of that ilk. Katie's vocals are high and strained to almost a falsetto. They introduce a soulful brass section too. This track just boogies along on one level, it takes you no where new or of particular interest. You just ride on it for a while, then get thrown off at the end. The live clip indicates that some of the tracks on this album ended up being overproduced, in the hope that more would be better. I bet they're all great played live though.

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