Review Summary: The Ting Tings make their sound using different ingredients, but it all builds up to have essentially the same passable results as their debut release did 4 years prior to this.
On their sophomore LP Sounds from Nowheresville, The Ting Tings show no indication of growth or improvement in their sound from their debut We Started Nothing four years ago. They seem to be content with still plodding away at the kind of cutesy and cliché guitar hooks destined to soon be heard in car commercials and waiting rooms across the country.
There is a certain beauty to simple and basic pop music, but on the flip side there can also be a certain annoyance. The Ting Tings unfortunately possess the annoyance side of things. Other indie-pop artists such as fun., have avoided this by fully embracing the potential of spirit and cheer in their genre and created an appropriately infectious sound to match the feel good intentions of the genre.
The issue with The Ting Tings is that they are taking the brooding integrity of garage and indie artists and only basing their music off of the generic details of that sound without any of the deeper substance that is needed for that kind of music to work. The result is The Ting Tings playing more watered-down and inferior takes on music that is known to have superior delivery, with everything being displayed completely at face value.
Songs are very short and shallow, spamming overused guitar riffs familiar to anyone who has heard any White Stripes song (or garage rock in general for that matter), matched with the most stereotypical of ska and hipster atmospheres, and laced together with about as much real attention any would give to the bare execution of something you’d hear from a side-walk performer.
Being a girl/guy duo as well, The Ting Tings are sort of reminiscent of what The White Stripes would be if The White Stripes had very narrow execution. To compare the two, the simplistic and basic songs of The White Stripes are addicting and something one would want to remember because even though it’s plain on the surface, they have interesting themes, style, and elements that put their material up to a standard of exceptional quality. The Ting Tings attempt the same fashion, except the difference is that their approach consists of everything being completely laid out on the surface, and there is not much, and what there is of it is very bland.
Songs are remembered as short bursts, and listeners may bob their heads casually to songs, but this is such a generic idea of indie underground that it’s really in one ear and out the other, and while it may be nothing special on the first listen, it poses a threat to get stuck in one’s head in the worst possible way on repeated listens.
Overall, The Ting Tings try to capitalize on making established aspects of indie music more ringtone-ready in the wrong way by playing lesser renditions of the genre and end up sacrificing the element that made the genre worth-while, instead of finding a spirit outside of headache-inducing bores. This may make anyone tap their foot on the first listen, but that’s honestly all this album could possibly evoke.