thu 18/10/2018

CD: The Ting Tings – Super Critical | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Ting Tings – Super Critical

CD: The Ting Tings – Super Critical

Salford duo fail to impress with lacklustre third album

Have the Ting Tings just committed commercial suicide?

From the sonic vantage point of the Ting Tings’ new album, Katie White and Jules De Martino’s explosive appearance in 2008 with hit single “That’s Not My Name”, with its lively mix of indie guitars, electronics and bolshy vocals, seems a long time ago. The dominant sound of Super Critical is emphatically funk, disco and chart pop.

The title track is a lively, Prince-like groove with brass embellishments, a funky bass and even the Purple One’s trademarked high-pitched backing vocals. “Green Poison” is a mash-up of Prince-like funk pop and the riff from Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitous”. “Daughter” stays in the Prince zone but adds a dash of Blondie’s “Rapture” with White’s chanted/rapped/sung vocals and aims straight for the hips. “Do It Again” sees a heavy dose of Nile Rogers-like production, driven by a funky guitar and a disco groove and it’s all ok – if a bit derivative.

From here, however, things go badly down hill. “Wrong Club” is poptastic in a Sophie Ellis-Bextor way and when White sings “I’m in the wrong club, listening to this shit” it’s difficult not to agree. “Wabi Sabi” is a gumbo of slide guitars, atmospheric synths, a plodding beat, choirs and a sitar buzzing away that feels like fake World Music with a plastic sheen, while “Only Love” and “Communication” are Kylie-aping trance pop songs that are painfully insubstantial. The final kiss off, however, comes from “Failure” – an awful boy/girl band-type pop song of the lowest common denominator that is paradoxically married to a chorus that proclaims “I’m a F A I L U R E – ooh!”

In truth, it’s not wholly clear whether the Ting Tings have become cultural commentators, like Negativland without samplers, and Super Critical is a prank about the vacuousness of so much chart pop, or whether they’ve committed commercial suicide. Either way, this album is a disappointment.

When White sings 'I’m in the wrong club, listening to this shit' it’s difficult not to agree

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