Album Reviews

The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing

(Columbia) UK release date: 19 May 2008


Oh really? Well, who the sweet baby Jesus provoked this bastard thing which keeps rattling aroundour subconscious, banging on about “the drums… the drums… the drums….” like some kind ofpercussion obsessed Colonel Kurtz. Don’t look at the floor Ting Tings, we know it was you. Remember, denial: not just a river in Egypt.

No doubt, We Started Nothing proves The Ting Tings know how to write a single. Or two. Great DJ andThat’s Not My Name are the sort of irritatingly brilliant numbers that give frivolous pop a goodname. Because if it isn’t “the drums… the drums…” embedding itself comfortably into your brainstem, it’s “that’s not my name that’s not my name…” refusing to let you sleep.

Tongue miles away from cheek, irony firmly checked in at the door, anyone who can’t see the simpleinane pleasure in the way Great DJ spins out page one of Guitar Riffs For Dummies into a geniusthree minutes, or the way That’s Not My Name turns a finger-wagging vocal and a skipping beat intosome kind of post-punk hopscotch chant, is clearly very old, very dead, or very both.

However, the other thing that We Started Nothing proves is that The Ting Tings are a long wayfrom having enough other songs to make an album. Fruit Machine further proves that it is impossibleto write a half decent song with the word ‘machine’ in the title (see also: Cash Machine, MetalMachine Music and everything Tin Machine ever did), sounding remarkably like the theme tune to AreYou Being Served?, while Traffic Light makes you wonder exactly why the Playbus is stopping at trackfour. Ding ding.

It’s a *bad* song. You rarely hear a truly awful song, a song with absolutely no redeeming featureswhatsoever – unless, of course, you happen to spend any sort of time around The Kooks – andyet Traffic Light is. It sounds like the sort of floatly-light distraction tactic they employ inparticularly onerous lifts to stop you slitting your wrists.

It does get better, particularly the soon to be ubiquitous Apple advertising Shut Up And LetMe Go, getting its freak on in a vaguely ’80s Wacko Jacko fashion, but ultimately, the peaks whichfollow those initial heights are never closed to scaled again.

Which leaves The Ting Tings in a bit of a quandry. Which song should they play as an encore? Snarkaside, it’s a shame that aside from a couple of notable exceptions, the album title is just aboutright.


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More on The Ting Tings
The Ting Tings – Sounds From Nowheresville
The Ting Tings @ Astoria, London
The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing


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