Sunday, May 18, 2008

Album Review: The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing (4/5)

Here's another hotly anticipated debut album. The Ting Tings were one of those bands the music press mentioned in January as being something to watch out for this year. First taste was the promising single "Great DJ," followed recently by their second single "That's Not My Name" and the use of one of their songs ("Shut Up and Let Me Go") in an iTunes advertisements, currently the music world's version of an Oprah book endorsement.

Those upbeat tracks are among the album's best moments. "Great DJ" is a winning mix of guitar, keyboard, hand claps and the band's female/male vocal blend. "That's Not My Name" is even better--irresistible, simple, and stuck in your head after just a few listens. "Shut Up and Let Me Go" is the best though. One of those infectious songs you can't help but not move to.

Also good is propulsive "Keep Your Head," which moves along at a rapid clip with keyboards. I also like the mellower, guitar-driven "Be the One." Insistent "We Walk" opens with a melancholy piano and has a minor key, making it perhaps the darkest track here, but for this band that's about like a cloud briefly covering the sun. This is sunny upbeat stuff.

Other moments are fine, but less interesting. "Fruit Machine" has some nice guitar work, but doesn't have the hooks of the first two tracks. Same goes for the title track. Where the album stumbles most are with a couple of tracks that don't sound finished. Goofy "Traffic Light" sounds like it could use a nudge in the tempo department and maybe a couple more layers of sound, not getting interesting until the near the end. On "Impacilla Carpisung," which also sounds like its missing some instruments, the band puts too much emphasis on strange clangy noises, which, up against the great melodies of most of these tracks, doesn't hold much appeal.

These are minor flaws though, The group excels at crafting upbeat pop melodies. It's nice to hear pop music that isn't rooted in electro or R&B, which are so popular at the moment. This isn't a serious work and it's not meant to be. The Ting Tings are clearly having a good time and so are we.

Best: Shut Up and Let Me Go, That's Not My Name, Great DJ, Keep Your Head, We Walk, Be the One


Chris B. said...

" ... an iTunes advertisements, currently the music world's version of an Oprah book endorsement."

Clever. Can I use that?

ww_adh said...

Sure. It never fails. Coldplay just scored their second US top 10 because of it.