Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:57 a.m.
Courtesy Tilly and the Wall
For this week's Clutter Control I ran a finger along my completely disorganized stacks of CDs and randomly ended up on Tilly and the Wall's O, wedged between a copy of Haale's No Ceiling and M.anifest's Manifestations. My initial impression is that the members of Tilly and the Wall are all really, really attractive. I'll do my damndest not to let this interfere with the objectivity of my review.
Tilly and the Wall plays totally enjoyable, clear-voiced indie music, following a fine Omaha tradition championed by folkster Conor Oberst. Their pallette is wider than I've come to expect from clear-voiced indie music - showing musical flexibility beyond emotionally fraught noodling. This is well-demonstrated by the contrast between the opening track (the sweetly harmonized "Tall Tall Grass,") and the second song, a sort of stomp-yelled "Pot Kettle Black."
There's not much critique here; at its lowest, "O" is simply unextraordinary, losing itself in a sea of similar rock 'n roll. At some point midway through the album, the songs started to run together, in the same way that the Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium sounds like one really long song.
I get the impression that Tilly and the Wall, like a lot of punk music, would be great fun to see live, but lose something on the way to the studio. There's a repressed-energy feel to the album, and some of the production on the more anthem-y numbers borders on screechiness.
But if you're a big fan of quirky, cute folk-punk-rock jumble, it'll likely be easy to overlook these niggles. And if you're a fan of such stuff living in Omaha, you're probably already a raving fan. I don't blame you; if had to live in Omaha I would be too.
The Low Point
Did anyone else notice that track 5, "Alligator Skin (Jumbler)" is pretty much the same tune as track 7, "Dust Me Off?" Like, a bit too similar to be just a coincidence - I call foul.
"When there wasn't anywhere for me to go/I stumbled into deep love with your rock 'n roll" may be the sweetest bit of lyric I've heard so far this young year, and it comes from the strongest track on the album, "Tall Tall Grass." Also, as I mentioned, all of the members are really, really attractive. Although, at second glance, the guy in the green shirt could probably be eliminated to maximize the group's hotness potential.
How Much Should You Pay?