x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Sounds from Nowheresville by the Ting Tings: zest, colour and sass

Eclectic in sound and style, the album is a powerful argument for great pop, bursting with zest, colour and sassy attitude.

Sounds from Nowheresville
Columbia
****

Making a noisy entrance in 2008 with their splashy, flashy, knowingly trashy blend of brightly coloured punk-pop, the British duo Katie White and Jules de Martino sold two million copies of their debut album We Started Nothing, rocketed to stardom by their highly infectious global hit That's Not My Name.

Four years later, following a massive world tour and tortuous recording sessions in Berlin, the duo return with a kaleidoscopic second album which emphatically blows away the notion of the Ting Tings as one-trick novelty lightweights. Eclectic in sound and style, Sounds From Nowheresville is a mix-tape-style collection aimed squarely at the download generation.

On the sweet-toothed bubblegum ballads Day to Day and Soul Killing, White pays shameless homage to her teenage love of TLC and the Spice Girls.

But elsewhere she and de Martino explore a much broader musical and emotional range, whether surfing a disco-rock tidal wave on the epic Silence or channelling prime-time Nancy Sinatra with the half-spoken, half-sobbed, heart-broken confessionals Guggenheim and In Your Life. The duo has not entirely abandoned the funky, punky formula of their first album, as the percussive party grooves Hang It Up and Hit Me Down demonstrate.

But diversity and variety are the key here. Even if one or two pedestrian tracks lurk between the killer anthems, Sounds From Nowheresville is still bursting with zest, colour and sass. Most of all it is a powerful argument for Great Pop, a much debased notion in these post-Simon Cowell times.