English music duo The Ting Tings are made up of Jules de Martino and Katie White. Their first album We Started Nothing charted number one on the UK chart eventually selling over four million singles worldwide. The album was catchy with one great song after another including the hot “That’s Not My Name” that was stuck in everyone’s brain after listening to it. “Shut Up and Let Me Go” along with “Great DJ” continued that upbeat trend.
I spoke with Katie for an interview early in their career while she was doing her laundry getting ready to tour. And what a tour that was with their live act sounding exactly like that first album if not better. They managed to capture the frenetic energy of each song while banging drums and cowbells. I first saw them at the Metro to a packed house then opening for Pink on her massive Funhouse tour. They were nominated for a Grammy in 2009 for Best New Artist and deservedly so.
The remixes of the early songs were heard in clubs and made the staying power of the first album last for a long time. This left many wondering what their new tracks would sound like. They released “Hands” produced by Calvin Harris in October of 2010 to not much of a response despite some good remix versions. “Hands” never made it on the new record.
The two started recording the second album Sounds From Nowheresville in a jazz club in Berlin. There were title changes and rumors of collaborators from Jay-Z to Rihanna that didn’t happen. It seems like the group must have had some creative problems and felt pressured to not have a sophomore slump.
There is some of that lingering and this is not the immediately listenable album from the first time out. Luckily I attended some of the live shows and heard songs like “Silence” that works incredibly well in concert. It builds and builds and I remember the crowds going crazy over it. The lead off single “Hang It Up” sounds like a one of the weaker tracks on We Started Nothing unfortunately. The reggae/rock of “Soul Killing” is a good step in the right direction and is the currently released single. Some tracks are unusual like “Guggenheim” although it is great to hear Jules step up to the singing plate on “Give It Back.” Some of the songs drone on like the closing track “In Your Life” and seem to be attempts at expanding their sound. For your money I recommend the deluxe version of the album with lots of remixes to keep the party going.
With SXSW this weekend they are out on the road again and soon heading to Chicago to the Park West on April 3. Live and in person is how the group is meant to be experienced so don’t miss your chance to see them when you can. Visit www.thetingtings.com for more information.