Album: The Ting Tings, Sounds from Nowheresville (Columbia)

5.00

 

Sometimes, it takes a great deal of skill, intelligence and patience to make the simplest and most immediate of pop music.

Take The Ting Tings: what could be catchier than the playground chants of "That's Not My Name" and "Shut Up and Let Me Go"? Yet those apparently instant, supremely disposable pop anthems were arrived at through months of painstaking work, finding just the right beat with the momentum to drive the anthemic lyrics, and just the right melody to make them palatable over several plays, but without losing the spontaneity that snags one's attention in the first place.

That painstaking approach has been repeated for Sounds from Nowheresville, for which the duo reportedly recorded, then summarily scrapped, the better part of an album's worth of material, before relocating their entire operation to another country and recording an entirely new album. In these days of endless bonus tracks and myriad outtakes, that takes guts and dedication – but as this effervescent, infectious album proves, it's worth the trouble. These 10 tracks are a masterclass in modern pop creation, pinballing from style to style without endangering their essential "TingTingness". One moment they're riding the itchy electro twitch of "One by One", the next they're in lilting folk-rock mode for "Day to Day". On a completely different tack, the chimes and drum tattoo of "Hit Me Down Sonny" carry a deadpan rap like a skipping-song, while elsewhere "Soul Killing" relies on a creaking-chair effect as the subliminal cement binding its loping ska skank together. Indeed, Jules de Martino and Katie White have such wide-ranging musical taste, yet occupy none of the usual niche genres, that it's surprising they ever found airplay.

The album opens with "Silence" looming in like a dark cloud, demanding we "hold your talk now, and let them all listen to your silence", before building in depth and texture as it proceeds. It's a strange choice as opener, but it sets up the jaunty chant-grooves of "Hit Me Down Sonny", "Hang It Up" and "Give It Back" perfectly, their titles reflecting the assertive tenor of the lyrics. The declamatory handclap swagger of the latter, for instance, punches out lines reflecting the reproach of the recently betrayed: "Gimme back my hifi," commands White, "gimme back my boots", going on to add footnotes to "That's Not My Name" by demanding back her name, and ultimately her life.

The most striking piece here, however, is the ambitious "Guggenheim", which yokes a Shangri-Las-style spoken tale of teen jealousy – delivered with the naive, doll-like vacancy of Lana Del Rey – with an angry hip-hop refrain asserting the protagonist's determination that "this time I'm gonna get it right, I'm gonna paint my face at the Guggenheim". Quixotically imponderable, it carries just the right weight of spirited mystery: whatever our heroine means by it, it's clear her emancipation is driven by her intellect, as much as her emotions. Which is often what it takes to make great pop music, too.

 

Download this: Guggenheim; Soul Killing; Hang It Up; Give It Back; One by One

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering