Protégés of Conor (Bright Eyes) Oberst, Tilly and the Wall are a sort of Nebraskan version of The Magic Numbers with tap-dancing. Featuring close-harmony combinations of two female voices and one male, set to rudimentary arrangements of guitar, piano or budget organ, the quintet offer folk, Sixties pop and indie-rock, the latter underpowered by their decision to eschew drums in favour of percussionist Jamie Williams' tap rhythms. Their songs deal with the simple enthusiasms of youth: love, loss, dancing and mischief, all indulged with a reckless passion. The ardour in songs such as "Fell Down the Stairs", "Let It Rain" and "Bessa" ("My heart it is close enough to breaking/ That it hurts just listening to your songs") is felt with the same fierce urgency that drives the restless thrill-seekers of "Nights of the Living Dead" and "You and I Misbehaving" as they stave off the inevitable stasis of maturity. The result is a spirited celebration of the energy of youth in the shadow of adulthood, best summed up in "The Ice Storm, Big Gust, and You": "We will sing pretty songs about love, and we will fight if that's what it takes, and we won't back down".
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