The Ting Tings - Sounds from Nowheresville Sounds from Nowheresville… Bones of contention

Review: The Ting Tings – Sounds from Nowheresville

Published on March 5th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Album… The Ting Tings – Sounds from Nowheresville (Columbia)

The buzz… Achingly hip Salford duo Katie White and Jules De Martino release follow-up to 2008 debut We Stated Nothing, home to ubiquitous irritants “That’s Not My Name” and “Shut Up and Let Me Go”.

In an interview with Digital Spy, White said: “We were in Berlin where there is a great electro scene, and so we made songs like that, but quickly realised that everything on the radio was Euro-pop shite. We didn’t want our record to be tarnished with that brush. No-one would give a shit if we’d made a shit Euro-pop song, even if it went top ten.”

De Martino added: “We scrapped six of the ten songs, which upset quite a few people. We put out ‘Hands’, which was meant to be an underground, white label-only release and it ended up being playlisted on Radio 1; we were quite angry so erased over half the album.”

“Hang it Up”

Sounds like… A veritable smorgasbord of television synching opportunities. Opener “Silence” is a decent swirling synth rush, a sort of My Bloody Valentine for those who would find the real My Bloody Valentine too bewildering, but things go decidedly downhill thereafter. “Hit Me Up Sonny” sees White seemingly trying to emulate MIA’s delivery on “Paper Planes”, but her brattish yelp does not play well with our ears, and nor should it for anyone except over-sugared 12-year-old girls and Nickelodeon production teams. “I’ll make you a banging headache” proclaim The Ting Tings here, and they do good by their word.

“Hang it Up” is straightforwardly slappy electro with blaring stabs of fuzzy power chords that eventually devolves to the point whereby De Martino issues a rap that sounds remarkably like Eric Cartman’s “Wild Wild West” song, while “Guggenheim” finds White pitching for the sort of aloof college chat that conceivably aims for Pixies but lands closer to Wheatus, before lifting from “Crazy in Love” in its chorus.

“Give it Back”

However, it’s not all bad; “Give it Back” is tolerable insomuch as White doesn’t decide to indulge her yelp-y side, a motorik beat and verging-on-Primal Scream noise-cranking sealing a deal of sorts; “Soul Killing” amazingly manages to make a relative strength out of sounding like a cross between Gwen Stefani and Hard-Fi, and the closing trio of “Day to Day”, “Help” and “In Your Life” reveal an aptitude for tenderness and oddball harmonies that may just salvage future releases.

“One By One”, though, sounds an Ace of Base album track, and it’s this song that sums up Sounds from Nowheresville more than any belated hints of warmth and humanity; it’s just all so easy, a chord progression you’ll have heard a million times before, a guideline on how to write your very own three-minute pop song in just two minutes.

In short, it is for the most part inconsequential, artistically barren and in danger of heralding a spate of diminishing returns from the similarly minded, but it’s a slick product and should sell by the bucketload.

In a few words… Unimaginative album title sets tone for uninspiring listening experience, but some promise shown on the last few tracks.

Rocksucker says… Three-and-a-half quails out of ten!

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Sounds from Nowheresville, the second album by The Ting Tings, is out now on Columbia. For more information and a list of live dates, please visit www.thetingtings.com

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.