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Album review: The Ting Tings - Super Critical

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The Ting Tings are back after two years of not even making a ripple in the big pond that is the music industry, and to be honest, I can’t say this album has made any more of an impact.

Super Critical follows the experimental, and extremely difficult second album Sounds From Nowheresville that was released back in 2012. Having resided in Ibiza, thinking they would get nothing done, they in fact managed to create their third record, which comes in at just over 30 minutes long.

Super Critical is catchy, but it doesn’t quite catch on.

I’m afraid to say that this record doesn’t exactly reignite the excitement of their ‘That’s Not My Name’ days.

Yes, that song it extremely annoying, but it got The Ting Tings out there, with people singing it and making reference to it on a daily basis - they were a hype band with massive promise.

But now, that is merely a blurry memory and Super Critical definitively fails to relight any of those initial flames. The title track begins and after the first chorus the album is already making it’s way into the repetitive-and-mundane pile. It is repetitive in both its lyrics and rhythm, a running theme throughout the entire album in fact. Tracks pass you by with no guts, no substance, nothing for the listener to grab on to.

Katie White's signature vocals, which before were always unique and interesting have faded. She no longer shines bright with her attitude-ridden screams, instead she could pass as a backing singer on her own tracks. She is lack lustre and so far removed from the energy we have seen previously.

With the record being just over 30 minutes long, there is not much of this you have to endure as a listener, but on the other hand, there isn’t much to keep the listener engaged within those 30 odd minutes. 2014 has already shown that short albums can stun listeners, take Royal Blood’s self-titled debut for example. A stark contrast to this short record by The Ting Tings.

The record as a whole pays homage to the late 70s, early 80s disco-funk era with clear influences from the likes of Nile Rogers and Prince. However, pulling up references such as these greats only serves as a point of comparison highlighting good disco and bad disco. In fact, I wouldn’t even say ‘bad’ disco, I don’t care about it enough to give it that powerful an adjective.

‘Only Love’ is a glimmer of hope as it begins with its cool guitar sound but soon enough, it turns into another repetitive Chic rip-off that I’m sure Nile Rogers wouldn’t appreciate.

‘Wabi Sabi’ is an obscure and out of place attempt at a ballad on the record.

If you want to see disco revival done well in 2014, you simply have to listen to La Roux’s comeback record Trouble In Paradise. She takes influence from the disco era and modernises it to bring the record up to speed with the needs of the contemporary listeners.

On the flip side, The Ting Tings have created a lack lustre, extremely mediocre third album in Super Critical. It isn’t offensively bad, its simply not very good, and in my opinion, that’s worse as people won’t give a shit either way.

Super Critical is out now via Finca Records.

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