It seems like a cliche to say that the Ting Tings have ‘come of age’, ‘grown up’ or ‘matured’, but Sounds from Nowheresville certainly gives that impression. There is a good mix of modern styles on the album and a bigger sound than the debut We Started Nothing.
What I thought was the teaser single Hands does not feature on the album, which is a shame, but that said there’s plenty of good tracks without it. There has been some comparison to the eclectic album Paul’s Boutique by The Beastie Boys, maybe because it marks a departure from the expected sound of the Ting Tings, but apart from that I don’t see the relationship.
There’s still some really catchy pop tunes on the album, but there’s less lyrical repetition than on We Started Nothing and there seems to be great big dollops of funk and soul loaded into the mix. Katie White is still mostly rapping out lyrics rather than singing what some people would call ‘proper songs’ but that’s how the Ting Tings roll and it works brilliantly on tracks such as Hang It Up and Soul Killing (with a ‘sub chorus’ reminiscent of Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd and touches of Lily Allen) coupled with Jules de Martino’s solid beats. That said there are some good electric guitars in Give it Back which could go down well live if they really beef up the rock angle, parts of Guggenheim are like something out of Grease, and the last track In Your Life could be described as a haunting ballad with some serious classical sounding strings.
Some people who don’t like change will describe this as a mish-mash, but I have listened to it now three times in a row and it is a serious grower, and so, despite the awful cover and the over-use of cowbells, I will give it a big fat (5/5)