Review of The Ting Tings’ ‘Sounds from Nowheresville”

Sounds-From-NowheresvilleRemember years ago, when getting nominated for a MTV Video Music Award was a big deal? No? Well I don’t blame you. But in fact, there was once a time when a relatively unknown getting nominated for their biggest award was a huge deal. I mean, that’s what happened to English twosome The Ting Tings back in 2008 (that seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?). Their video for “Shut Up And Let Me Go” blew up the awards show that year, getting nominated for Video of the Year. Of course, it lost to Britney Spears, but c’mon, no one was really shocked that they didn’t win.

Since then, they released a couple more singles (including the catchy “That’s Not My Name”) and have been featured in a series of shampoo commercials. Now, FOUR YEARS later, the dance-pop duo are back with an entirely different album than their debut We Started Nothing. Instead, you get Sounds from Nowheresville; an album that drops most of the dance and pop almost entirely and tries too hard to be labeled as alternative.

The album starts out at a remarkably slow pace. The first track “Silence” is a track that builds up on itself and plateaus, going nowhere in the process. The album then picks it up by blocking together a section of upbeat, fun songs. “Hit Me Down Sonny” is a hip-hop infused dance beat that you can really get into. “Hang It Up” was definitely a Brit-pop song; bouncy and full of energy – easily could’ve been on their debut. “Guggenheim” was the odd one in this block. The song starts off slow, but then frontwoman Katie White inter-cuts the soft storytelling with a catchy cowbell chorus.

At this time in the album, I almost found myself being bored with it. Their debut was such a bouncy, catchy, and overall fun album, while Nowheresville went nowhere for me feeling wise. “One by One” is an electric downer, while the following track “Day to Day” was an acoustic attempt at a California-feel single. The album closes with two really slow tracks in “Help” and “In Your Life.” “Help” was at times too quiet and atmospheric for a band like The Ting Tings to put out, especially as they tried to add some of their signature soundbites to the mix. The last track, “In Your Life,” actually ended the album on a rather high note – a downer no doubt, but a rather gentle, downtempo closer.

Sounds from Nowheresville wasn’t completely insufferable. The opening track put me into a weird mood, as I was expecting some fun pop music right out of the gate, instead of a mixture of what makes the Ting Tings themselves and a band who cannot find themselves. They did close it out rather beautifully, but that wasn’t enough to bring its grade up any higher. Was it a bad album? Not at all. But if you’re like me, you were probably looking for something a lot happier than Sounds from Nowheresville. Let’s just hope they bring that kind of album sooner than 2016.

Final Grade: C+

Go Download: “Hit Me Down Sonny”

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