On 12th October 2008 at 23:53 thirties wrote...
Of course, as everyone knows, this is the third outing from Tilly and the Wall. Profuse apologies for having indicated otherwise...
By Tilly And The Wall
Purveyors of lush, romantic rock and roll they may be, but in a world that needs a handle, these guys will - for the time being - continue to be 'that one with a tap dancer instead of a drummer'. OK - so if you don't want to be branded as a band with a gimmick then... don't have a gimmick. But when everyone who wilfully avoided guitars first time around (from The Research to, er..., Keane) seems to have noticed that having the 6-stringed beast on board for the next long player mightn't be such a bad idea, it's good to see that Tilly apparently continue to shun conventional percussion on this, their second outing.
That's not to say that this is a record concerned wholly with making a statement. There's genuine catchy melody in here, not least on the exquisite lead single 'Beat Control'. Anyone not up and dancing to this by the time the first chorus kicks in is clearly suffering from chronic lethargy. Although it appears to have been slapped onto the end of the album to cash in on the boost of recent radio play, it's not entirely out of keeping with the rest of the disc.
Jamie on taps isn't going to be the only one dancing away to mid-album triple play 'Cacophony', 'Alligator Skin' and 'Chandelier'. Meanwhile more vitriolic numbers such as 'Pot Kettle Black' and 'Blood Flower' keep things varied, and are actually quite good fun for all that. There's a depth of sound here. Backing vocals crop up when required without ever cloying, and the same goes for the synths, knob-twiddling and bonus percussion - kazoo, pots, pans, kitchen sink etc. - thrown in from time to time.
This is a band that can be wandering in nursery rhyme land one minute and assaulting you with a wall of electric guitars, glockenspiels and filthy language the next. If you want to take that as a negative statement then, dear reader, it says more about you than it does them. It's not always pop-perfect, but you can't deny the honest energy that pervades throughout. This is a record that does justice to their live show and that's something which, in itself, does justice to an old-school indie D.I.Y. vitality of spirit.
There are flaws, of course, and over-reliance on novelty may be one of them. The aforementioned 'Beat Control' is the only track you'd countenance playing more than a couple of times on repeat but, after all, this is supposed to be an album - not a collection of singles. If you write it off as twee then you're missing (a) the dark heart concealed within the saccharine coating, (b) the fact that you are completely and utterly wrong, and (c) the point.