Incorporating The Music Fix
13th February 2012 06:20:00
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The Ting Tings - Sounds From Nowheresville

We were all asking the same question, some with a sneer in their voice: 'Just where did The Ting Tings go?' After their explosive, handmade effort We Started Nothing in 2008 set the world on fire, the subsequent silence meant they began to appear on people's 'where are they now?' lists.

Not dead, they instead decided to just disappear for a while. Rather than recreate the same first-album vibe at their space in Salford's Islington Mill, TTT instead holed up in Berlin, where rumours abounded of a funkier, hip-hoppy album called Kunst (German for 'art'). Then they were supposed to be in the bright heavy-make-up lights of Paris, then the South of France, then Spain, until it soon became a game of cat and mouse with their grumbling label who just wanted them to finish the damn thing.

The ten tracks that make up Sounds From Nowheresville incapsulate that itinerant journey. The songs feel like postcards and letters, some written off the cuff in a busy cafe, some more considered with many scribblings and crossing out of words. The result is a collection of songs that should pretty much stay the naysayers while reassuring patient fans.

Just glancing at the titles shows what a wayward, unsettling journey this was: 'Hit Me Down'; 'Hang It Up', 'Give It Back'; 'Help'. 'Silence' and new single 'Hang It Up are the more trad Ting Tings tunes, with their punchy melodies and Katie White's droning guitar blaring over Jules de Martino's drums. The rest veers left - which may disconcert some fans who were waiting for more easily accessible tunes like 'That's Not My Name'. 'Hit Me Down Sonny' has a funky R&B vibe and is a fun, fresh departure from their typical three minute soundbites. The excellent 'Give It Back', with de Martino sharing lead vocals with White, explodes from the speakers with a riotous pace and spitfire lyrics: "Give me back my hi-fi / Give me back my boots / Give me back my life / Give me back my name!"

The greatest departure is the magnificent 'Guggenheim' - reportedly written on top of a mountain in Ibiza. The song reads like a letter penned to an ex-boyfriend, but never sent. The simple act of writing it out; the anger, the grief, the self-realization, being more important than said ex reading the words: "This isn't about you anymore / This is all about me". The ska beat of 'Soul Killing' belies the bitterness of the words; the tempo may be upbeat yet White spits out the words with venom.

It would seem that White and de Martino have grown up from the frazzled, day-glow pop of their debut and are not afraid of taking some risks. After the trippy 'One By One' the album ends with a trio of slower, heart-felt songs that people will either love or hate. 'Day to Day' sounds like a cheap Robyn number, pretty enough but also rather bland. 'Help' and 'In Your Life' are by contrast dramatic, all strings and acoustic guitars and Katie White's torch singer performance: "You love everybody else / Wish I was everybody else," White laments while a trembling violin plays behind her.

People were ready to write off The Ting Tings as a fluke, a passing fancy. Fun, but no staying power. Anticipating the backlash, Sounds From Nowheresville is a smart and brave work that proves White and de Martino are willing to take risks and venture out from their comfort zone. While it may not work every time, the occasional glitch is still more interesting than paying it safe might have been.

Related Forum Discussions

The Ting Tings - Sounds From Nowheresville
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Track List
Hit Me Down Sonny
Hang It Up
Give It Back
Soul Killing
One By One
Day To Day
In Your Life

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About Olivia Schaff
I have been writing for The Music Fix for over two years and if anything I am more of a music junkie than ever before. I am not happy unless I’m waiting in line for a gig. Be it a rock band or a folk band, you will always find me at the barrier. My home is Manchester and wherever my favourite band are playing.