Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2006: Number 16

Sadly the Tilly/Cornholio crossover never came off

Tilly And The Wall shouldn't work. Not because of the tap dancer, but because in the current climate of American earnestness, especially for a band that's part of the Team Love collective, they shouldn't logically come across as so unconcerned with ideas of lofty coolness and consequences of their approach. Partly due to the live sound of this record in particular of the two given UK release this year, they sound unstoppable, reeking of charm and vitality with songs that demand solidarity. How have they done it? The oldest tricks in the book - garage scratch band atmosphere, melodies, pro-am harmonies, joyful instrumentation, lyrics that sound sugar-sweet but aren't. It could have fallen into the box marked 'sappy', it's not exactly complex, but such positivism hooks every time.

Wild Like Children (which we know came out in mid-2004 in America but Moshi Moshi licensed it in the UK for February 2006 release so it counts) starts the way it means to continue, with male and female voices singing together, overlapping and at one point cheering out of sheer, you'd imagine, love of what they're doing as an acoustic guitar joins Jamie Williams' Capezios, which don't strike as a novelty at all in these surroundings, at the front of the mix. It's like the Polyphonic Spree without the need to try so hard. Then next track Nights Of The Living Dead starts "the high school kids are all fucked up" (and later quotes Cum On Feel The Noize) and you realise we're in outsider territory, ganging together because it's all you can do, chorusing "I wanna fuck it up" in the outro. For every dream of living life and being free there's a sense that all this is borne from the real world's heartache, pressure and mortality. You And I Misbehaving is about growing up and "wondering how you ended up here", resolving "we won't ever let them win" while Let It Rain starts with Derek Pressnall quoting Into The Groove as a roadsign of memories and carries an emotional touch that belies its simplicity. The Ice Storm, Big Gust And You summarises the whole album at the close - it dances to no melody but its own love of life, it's lovingly harmonic, the lyrics are alternately wistful, celebrational and fist-pumping and the effect can't help but win the hardest hearts over.

LISTEN ON: Nights Of The Living Dead
WATCH ON: Reckless video; Nights Of The Living Dead live
READ ON: Nick chats to Village Indian, who remind him that he's from Omaha

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