Carefree beats, spunky vocals, and a range of musical styles define The Ting Tings’ sophomore LP Sounds From Nowheresville, an album that screams things like “FINALS ARE OVER!” and “RAY-BANS!” — well, at least for me. It’s fresh, lightweight, and absolutely fun.
You know how you feel when you just got rid of that last iota of responsibility for a good while? Well, me neither recently, but I think I remember the feeling. That’s what Sounds From Nowheresville sounds like, and depending on how you like to listen to music, Nowheresville is either a reference to the against-the-mainstream aim of the album, or that magical stress-free land where you can just listen to music and enjoy the weather with friends while you put school or work on hold. It’s a very nice collection and the deluxe edition has several interesting remixes that are worth listening to. The album art is pretty sweet too, and was actually produced by a fan as part of a recent contest.
Several tracks immediately stand out upon first listen. “Hit Me Down Sonny” is an exercise in re-establishing Katie White’s vocal trademarks, lest anyone at all fail to make the link between Nowheresville and the Tings’ first album, 2008’s We Started Nothing (“That’s Not My Name,” “Shut Up And Let Me Go”). “Hang It Up” is a cowbell-accented burst of energy that more than compensates for near-lackluster opening track “Silence”. In fact, the cowbell is featured pretty prominently on this whole album. As it should be.
Jules de Martino is the Xaphoon Jones to Katie White’s Chiddy; while White ostensibly gives the duo its personality and quirk, Jules provides its backbone. This is nowhere more evident than in the choruses of “Guggenheim,” which are insanely catchy and wear the Ting Tings’ brand well, although the spoken word verses spin the wheels a bit without gaining much traction. “Soul Killing,” a funky ska-pop track about frustrations in the music industry that samples a squeaky rocking chair, is the strongest (and easily the funnest) song on the album:
Bouncy dance-pop number “One By One” belongs in a Forever 21 on repeat somewhere, and I do intend that as a compliment. “Day To Day” is a Caribbean beach at night, bonfire and all; I’m hesitating to draw comparisons to Ben Harper on this one, because I know it’s a stretch, but I’ll let you listen and decide for yourself. “Help” is a nice airy track that tries to segue into “In Your Life,” Nowheresville‘s downer final track, which is a little puzzling and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album. I’m not holding it against Jules and Katie though; they did, after all, just give me my favorite “summer album” of 2012. Hurry up, July.
Like a summer blockbuster movie, Nowheresville isn’t going to make you think; it’s not challenging or substantially complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Complaining about lack of depth on Nowheresville is like complaining that they didn’t develop the characters enough in Iron Man 2. If The Ting Tings are a type of food, they’re an orange creamsicle milkshake; you know exactly what you’re getting and it’s delicious, so drink up and enjoy.
(3) “Hang It Up”
(6) “Soul Killing”
(7) “One By One”
(8) “Day To Day”