Sounds from Nowheresville


In the first 10 seconds of “Hang It Up,” the leadoff single from their sophomore album, the Ting Tings swipe the opening chord from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and an almost equally recognizable beat from Jay-Z. This British electro-pop duo may have 99 problems, but absorbing and expressing their influences ain’t one. Opener “Silence” is a gift to New Wave geeks—a three-minute trip in which Frankie Goes to Hollywood on OMD’s Dazzle Ships. On the bratty proto-rap playground chant “Hit Me Down Sonny,” the Tings ring the church bells from Blondie’s “Rapture,” a song that—alongside vintage Beastie Boys jams—informs most of this disc’s 10 tracks. Things turn maudlin on the closing two tunes, as the group unplugs for the pleading “Help” and bows the world’s saddest violin on “In Your Life.” The sun doesn’t always shine in Nowheresville, and that’s A-OK. The Tings are coming from someplace anyone can recognize.  –Kenneth Partridge

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