Tilly And The Wall - O
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Tilly And The Wall

I'll be honest. After hearing the debut release from Tilly And The Wall a couple years ago, I thought it was painful. The recording was tinny and the tap-dancer-as-percussionist idea was so damn twee that I thought the group would collapse in on themselves like some sort of one-trick pony with a cheap gimmick after awhile, leaving several dozen kids in really tight jeans and undersized t-shirts crying themselves to sleep at night.

Needless to say, I was surprised to see that the group had not only survived, but managed to release a third album with O. An even bigger surprise came when I listened to the album and found that they'd advanced quite a bit beyond their original ideas, filling out their sound a bit while exploring some new ideas musically. The result is an album that's much more fun than I thought it would be, full of mostly-fun pop songs that flourish with everything from clanging piano to horn bursts.

Of course, the tap dancing percussion is still there, but it's augmented (and even drowned-out at times) by additional drums. It's also mic'ed up in different ways, making for raucous stomping backing at times. "Pot Kettle Black" is a perfect example, as the tromping beat ties in with gritty guitars and mashing cymbals while aggressive vocals (with albeit silly lyrics) give the song an almost Joan Jett quality. "Cacophony" rumbles along with clip-clopping percussion and mariachi horns as some barroom piano rollicks along with male/female vocals.

As mentioned above, they ditch the foot-based percussion entirely at times and actually sound the better for it. "Falling Without Knowing" is all programmed beats, and while it's still a fairly straightforward song, the beat moves with a different cadence that's noticeable. "Jumbler" is about as over-the-top as they get on the release, as spiky guitars mix up alongside piano and harpsichord as the foot-pounding percussion is given some serious juice behind it all. As with all their work, the group doesn't allow things to linger too much at any time, and eleven songs clock in at just over thirty minutes. In the end, it's not going to change the world, but it shows that the group is definitely expanding (in a good way) their sound from their early days.

rating: 6.7510
Aaron Coleman 2008-07-10 21:22:59