BY ALYSSA HOLCOMB
Reach into the realms of pop-punk, add in some techno and hip-hop, and you’ll find the mass of alt-sound rebellion that is The Ting Tings’ “Sounds from Nowheresville”.
The follow up to their successful debut “We Started Nothing,” which included monster tracks “Shut Up and Let Me Go” and “That’s Not My Name,” “Nowheresville” is just as catchy, albeit with a more driving, rock-edged force.
Leading the album off quietly with a techno-driven intensity, “Silence” showcases Katie White’s stylishly monotone drone that makes their songs stand out with such tenacity, a rebellious whine over electronic drums and keyboards.
“Silence” segways into the upbeat “Hit Me Down Sonny,” complete with a catchy cacophony of church bells and simple pop-guitar riffs. Particularly on this track, it is the combination of New Wave musicality and new age pop/hip-hop that truly showcases the youthful, energetic atmosphere that is the Ting Tings music. The sheer ability that White and fellow Ting Jules de Martino have to bring together contrasting musical styles into such a diverse mix really makes it work, making “Sonny” one of the easiest to sing-along to on the record.
Following is the equally danceable “Hang It Up,” White’s voice transferring to the syncopated rhythms of high-pitched hip-hop almost like Gwen Stefani, with de Martino coming in towards the middle, sounding like Jack White of the White Stripes. Katie White’s high-pitched, sideline-ready squeals are just as spirited, constantly driving the songs straight into their utterly pop-rock presence. Tracks like “Gimme Back” showcases the duo’s vocal presence, this time together, almost a battle of British brattiness, their voices punctuating the lines with a lively staccato.
The rest of the album is a mixed representation of musical styles and takes, from slowed down storytelling (like the almost-spoken “Guggenheim”) to playfully soulful (as heard on the horn-tinged “Soul Killing”). Purely machine-driven tracks like “One by One” represent the haunting echoes that align them with the indie genre, while “Day to Day” puts them in the aura of acoustic-guitar driven pop (the latter being the only track on the album where White’s falsetto is present the entire time).
The album closes with the melancholy “In Your Life,” sadly sliding alongside a mournful violin. Although in contrast to the pep of the album, it is a truly memorable track, honing in on different emotions and styles that, oddly enough, fit the pair perfectly. The sheer amount of musical diversity the duo has really sets them apart from their contemporaries, especially due to the fact that they have succeeded in making this mix work in their favor.
The Ting Tings are currently on tour across the US. For more information, check them out on Facebook or on their official website, March 16, 2012