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Ting Tings, The - We Started Nothing
|The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing|
June 3, 2008
The rise of the Ting Tings probably came as a surprise to most. Critics call guitarist Katie White one of the least skilled musicians of the Ableton age, two-man acts rarely harness enough energy to captivate crowds, and the obsession with U.K. indie pop passed some time ago. Yet Katie still manages to squeal and strum her way to endearment; the Ting Ting’s quirky mannerisms keep their live show afloat; and three years after the explosion of bands such as Bloc Party and Maxïmo Park, the Ting Tings are turning heads left and right. A U.K. chart-topping single and countless Apple endorsements later, it’s impossible to say the Ting Tings haven’t arrived.
The duo start off their debut full-length in grand fashion; “Great DJ” and “That’s Not My Name” – the two tracks which propelled them to the top of the blogging world some time ago – kick off We Started Nothing. Katie’s energy and cheerleading chants provide the perfect complement to Jules’s reserved whispers. Simple guitar work neglects all sorts of conventional notions of excellence, instead relying on undeniable infectiousness to win over fans. In other words, what the Ting Tings lack in technical excellence they more than make up for with their collective ability to craft remarkably listenable progressions.
The same formula holds for the next track – yet another former single – “Fruit Machine.” Indecisive guitars, persistent percussion, and frantic vocal work all lead to an unexplainably catchy effort. Nothing changes on the iTunes-endorsed “Shut Up and Let Me Go.” Chugging, jerky string work and equally fractured singing come together to equal a final product infinitely greater than the sum of its parts.
However, tracks such as “Traffic Light” expose the Ting Tings’ most obvious weakness: decelerated songs. Here the band relies on Katie’s voice to carry a slow-paced ditty; though her slightly scratchy and minimally accented singing is a perfect match for their scragglier pop efforts, it clashes horribly when pitted against a more relaxed instrumental. “Be The One” befalls the same affliction. Though it constantly flirts with a more aggressive tone, the Ting Tings always maintain its calm vibe, thus disallowing Katie to hit her stride.
Critics of the Ting Tings certainly have plenty of material to work with when discrediting the band; Katie is hardly a conventionally excellent singer, her guitar work is remarkably simplistic, their live show lacks the energy of a larger group, etc. Yet these detractors are missing something very elemental that the group’s proponents caught quite some time ago: the Ting Tings make music that, though perhaps not technically impressive, is pleasing to the ear. And isn’t that what most of us want to listen to, anyways?
08:59 PM on 07/06/08
Good review. I definitely agree with what you have to say about their strengths and weaknesses. I could listen to "Great DJ," "That's Not My Name," and "Shut Up and Let Me Go" on repeat for months, but the rest of the album doesn't hold up as well. I'm already interested to hear what they do next.
09:26 PM on 07/06/08
It could be a bowling site.
That single is so freaking catchy, may have to hear the rest of the album sometime.
04:10 AM on 07/07/08
they have the honour of being my most hated group of the moment
04:14 AM on 07/07/08
I need to check this band out. I wonder how far their association with Wentz can take them.
04:41 AM on 07/07/08
They are horrid and catchy at the same time! They are as annoying as irresistible, I don't know what to think about them...
05:00 AM on 07/07/08
lay your scars down in rose.
mmmm. Great DJ. fucking great song. i just go gah gah with it in my car.
05:38 AM on 07/07/08
either you're going to like this band, or hate them.
06:23 AM on 07/07/08
What's their association with Wentz?
I think I just lost a ton of respect for them.
07:10 AM on 07/07/08
Has anyone heard the Dizzee Rascal take on the single? lol
07:23 AM on 07/07/08
not really a fan at all...
08:13 AM on 07/07/08
makes me cringe and i can't even give a reason why. that has never happened to me before.
10:50 AM on 07/07/08
I pretty much agree.
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