Review Summary: Don't turn your back yet
Disappearing in the shadows shortly after the release of their wildly eclectic and inconsistent second album, Sounds From Nowheresville
, The Ting Tings rapidly regrouped in Ibiza to plan their next moves. It was very important for them to churn a more consistent record in order to recapture their fans' interest. Two years later, we receive Super Critical
, a short and rather sweet effort that might not launch them to the top of the charts once again, but at least confirms us they're not yet ready to fade into obscurity.
Channeling their inner George Michael and several late '70s-early '80s funk/disco acts, Katie and Jules wrote nine songs that will suit your cool, retro parties. The trademark palm-muted guitars, slap bass alongside claps, piano lines and various vintage synths dominate Super Critical
, while the shiny sing-alongs and her passionate vocals are just as cute as ever. Such is the case of highlights like 'Wrong Club', 'Only Love', 'Do It Again' or 'Communication': they are really enjoyable, feel good cuts that display the chemistry between the two members. Amid the simple yet catchy structures, Katie's chops have become tighter and Jules does a great job providing all the other instruments and giving the whole album a cohesive flow. To complete the funk/disco pastiche, The Ting Tings add some horns on the title cut and 'Green Poison', thus creating a more authentic vibe and enhancing the grooves. There's nothing you haven't already heard at some point, but at least they do a good job presenting their ideas this time.
Yes, some tunes will inevitably remind you of past hits, but giving more of the same (which in some cases was also more of the same to begin with) shouldn't be a reason to discard this from the first listen. 'Do It Again' follows the same path as Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky', whereas 'Only Love' sounds like a twangy version of Kylie Minogue's hit, 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'. Still, kudos to Ting Tings for creating a consistent record that not only manages to mend the damage done by its faulty predecessor, but also create a coherent, fun atmosphere. A long time has passed since We Started Nothing
shook the charts with a string of hits, so even though this effort won't be a multi-platinum success, it should re-establish their credibility as a pop act. To be honest, Super Critical
is simply a cute record that shows they are back on track after a few years of less successful experiments. Hopefully, they won't lose it again and maintain this momentum.