The Ting Tings’ rise to fame really does sound like a fairy story. Multi-instrumentalist girl (Katie White) meets multi-instrumentalist boy (Jules de Martino), they form an indie pop-rock-dance-punk-band, get played on BBC Introducing, perform at Glastonbury, and release an Ivor Novello award-winning, number one-charting début album in 2008.
The formula on their first album consisted of catchy guitar hooks and repetitive lyrics that would dig their dirty little words deep into your brain and stay in your head for days. After that though, it seemed to get rocky; the pressure of the second album kicked in. So here we are, four years later, listening to the eagerly-anticipated second album.
After reports of scrapping an entire record’s worth of tunes and members going AWOL [absent without leave -ed] throughout Europe, and utter chaos, can this offering live up to the hype? It is all very catchy, you’ll be pleased to read. Each song sounds different from the rest as the Tings are obviously drawing from sonic and personal influences far and wide, each track, thankfully is guaranteed to make you nod along with enjoyment, but whether it’s enough to make you get up and completely get off is another story. The first album was raw, youthful and exciting; this second one seems slightly lacking by contrast.
Rest assured however, that there are some fun elements worthy of praise. We open with ‘Silence’. Starting with atmospheric synth, along with a skulking guitar and chanting yet subtle vocals, de Martino’s drums appear suddenly, hammering home the obvious but strong message: “This is The Ting Tings, and we are back”. It is definitely one of the better moments on this collection. Meanwhile, ‘Hit Me Down Sonny’ begins with a slow beat, bells and err… some rapping. Yep, it’s just as cringe-worthy as it sounds on paper. If you can get past that rather massive “elephant in the room” however, a catchy riff appears and it all gets much better. Phew! If you decide that it’s worth a second listen, it’ll be a grower for you. Trust. Follow-up ‘Guggenheim’ is fun and will certainly get you bopping. With the help of a few “oohs”, White tells us, in 60s girl band style, about her failed romance. The chorus kicks in with the cowbell and bouncy guitar hook and we are carried away singing along: “This time I’m gonna get it right!”. A nice moment for us.
The album ends with a slow one; ‘In Your Life’ has strings that you imagine should be played on a medieval, Gaelic island somewhere [really? -ed], an acoustic guitar and White’s vocals. It’s stripped down, emotional and fits neatly into the “powerful album ender” section. Nifty.
Difficult to pigeonhole, this album seems disjointed. It grabs you by your happy parts but not for very long as it moves from one sound to the next quickly and arbitrarily. There are some dancey moments that are certain to get you moving, and some moments to set you thinking, others will have you cringing; but unfortunately none that imprint on your brain and have you singing them days later.
For more information on The Ting Tings, please visit their website.