TILLY & THE WALL
Bottoms of Barrels
I could see why a lot of people might not be into Tilly and the
Wall. The whole tap-dancing instead of drum kit thing reeks of
fey novelty--it's surely a gimmick of Matisyahuvian proportions.
And it's a gimmick that totally overshadowed the fact that their
2004 debut, Wild Like Children, was overflowing with catchy
indie-pop nuggets. Tilly's brand new follow-up, marvelously titled
Bottoms of Barrels, is almost exactly like their first
record only even better. At the very least, great pop music should
always be about inclusion. Hand claps, sing-along harmonies, shout-out-loud
chorus', hooks, shakers, all the bells and whistles--literally.
If the bridge section builds tension but is also catchy too, even
better. On Bottoms, the guys and gals in Tilly and the
Wall have mastered this sense of inclusion. After all, Tilly's
a collective. Word has it, the band even cooked these new jams
up democratically in a classroom as part of an "artist in
residence program." It doesn't really get more inclusive
than that. The opening track, "Rainbows in the Dark,"
starts with a count-off, so even though it's already layered with
just about every instrument off your high school band room floor,
thanks to AJ Mogis' trademark Phil Spector by way of Elliott Smith
production, the listener could play along if he or she cared to.
And he or she will care to. The fifth track on the record is titled,
"Love Song," but really, the whole album is packed with
love songs. And even though the lyrics may be the type of stuff
your girlfriend may have been caught jotting down in her trapper-keeper
back in 7th grade, it only makes these songs all the easier to
sing along to. Hell, while Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst are off
doing their Emmylou Harris thing, somebody had to make a record
someone could dance to this summer. All this, and I didn't even
have to mention "Omaha" once. [HG]