REVIEW: The Ting Tings – Super Critical

Let’s be honest, we at PressPLAY HQ can’t be the only ones who wish that the office had a full blown stadium-sized PA system every time a banging pop duo make a new album. Probably no surprise that our Amazon search history resembles that of the Live Aid production team.

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to get lost in another relentless, upbeat indie-pop offering from The Ting Tings. Two years since Songs From Nowheresville and they’re back, with Super Critical quite an appropriate title: this kind of feels like their make-or-break point. Luckily, it’s also their most high calibre and accessible release to date – guitar-heavy pop is a strong feature, though this time there’s something more funk-tacular about this record than their previous releases.

True to form it’s another quick wham-bam-thank-you nine-track serving. But size isn’t everything; well-executed production successfully brings retro disco elements to the fore with the clap-along power of Do It Again, the timeless fade-ins of Wrong Club and the outstanding bass riff and horns on Green Poison. None of this is surprising when you consider the album was produced by ex-Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor.

Our beef begins with the Token Album Ballad, amid a very quick and crisp collection of fresh sounding tracks. Katie White’s simplistic yet equally sexy vocal tone and girl-nextdoor attractiveness is lost on this island of a song. Wabi Sabi (which, appropriately, sounds more like we should be crying into a conveyor belt of disappointing sushi) feels like its been plonked in between two noisy, high-energy disco tunes and it’s at completely the wrong party. It could be a grower, but we don’t feel compelled to find out.

However tracks like Communication and the title track are the kind of expertly crafted disco pop offerings that keep us coming back for more. Is this album a story book? Definitely not. It’s a collection of typically Ting Tings songs that would all work perfectly on your Saturday night party playlist (save the wasabi one), but whether it’s enough to salvage their career remains to be seen.

Nikki Gandy

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The Ting Tings - Super Critical
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