THE TING TINGS ‘SOUNDS FROM NOWHERESVILLE’

When I first started to write my reviews I made a pledge to myself that I wouldn’t wish to waste my time reviewing a gig or album that I hadn’t enjoyed. I am not a contracted journalist who has to report on a list of things that have been prescribed for me, preferring instead to use my time selectively. A brief look around existing reviews for this latest offering from The Ting Tings might have discouraged me from even listening to the album in the first place. As it turned out I had been eagerly anticipating this album, following their progress towards it via their social network posts, and had already listened to it intently a number of times before ever seeing the unenthusiastic reviews that I have subsequently come across.

The ‘Deluxe’ edition of the album on i-tunes runs to nineteen tracks, including seven alternative ‘mixes’. Once tracks have been added to my library my settings have them arranged in alphabetical order and this means that I don’t routinely listen to albums in the designed track order. I was intrigued recently to here a radio interview with somebody who was organising ‘book club’ equivalent ‘album evenings’. These evenings have group ‘members’ arriving at a location and having a pre-listening chat before the lights are dimmed and all present listen without comment to a vinyl version of the evening’s selected album, continuously from track one side one to last track side two. After listening to all tracks in the order sweated over by the artist and producer, they then analyse and discuss. This was the way that I listened to many albums back in the 1970s, and is a format that often feels redundant in these days of selective dowloading, skip and shuffle. I kept this in mind when I listened again to this newest album from Katie White and Jules de Martino in the published track order. I have to admit that there is one point of agreement with some of the critical reviews – this album does appear to be a bit disjointed and doesn’t really flow in a flawless fashion. I find myself wondering whether or not Katie and Jules actually intended to present an album that would be listened to pedantically as holistic entity. By their own admission they have aimed to provide a selection of songs that seeks to emulate a diverse playlist as might be heard on a radio station. With this in mind it seems that the album content is not necessarily meant to be seen as one rigidly sequenced entity. I believe that they have succeeded in demonstrating their versatility and found myself recalling the likes of New Order, Patti Smith, Depeche Mode and Portishead as I listened. I have to say, however, that none of the tracks seem remotely to be simple attempts to reproduce the sound of any one particular artist. A wide range of genres, from reggae to drum & bass, have been incorporated here in a mature assortment of tracks; the inclusion of the demo and remix versions helps to add to the diversity. In summary then, ‘Sounds From Nowheresville’ does not necessarily offer listeners an opportunity to listen to a carefully crafted holistic experience, but it does give the opportunity to appreciate the wide range of output that this pair can produce when they install themselves in a studio. It is also worth bearing in mind that Katie and Jules recorded everything themselves.

Track listing (Deluxe edition)

Silence

Hit Me Down Sonny

Hang It Up

Give It Back

Guggenheim

Soul Killing

One By One

Day To Day

Help

In Your Life

Silence (Bag Raiders Remix)

Hang It Up (Inertia Remix)

Give It Back (Demo)

Hang It Up (Abacus & Vargas ‘Perdator’ Remix)

Hands

Guggenheim (Got It Right Mix)

Hang It Up (Shook Remix)

Ain’t Got S**t

Hang It Up (CKB Remix)

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