Tilly and the Wall – O

Rating: ★★★★ ·

I’ll be honest, on the last release from Tilly and the Wall, I was a little underwhelmed.  Sure, they stepped out of their box for a second to confront the masses, but overall, it just didn’t have the intimate appeal of their debut record.  Now, the opening track, “Tall Tall Grass,” instantly returned me to the days of glory for this band.  Acoustic guitars with an irresistible female vocal.

All of a sudden, “Pot Kettle Black,” just knocks you out of your chair.  It’s a straight rock song, well, as much as a band with tap dancers can rock.  The song appears to be a warning against an unnamed enemy.  Still, this has a certain cleverness to it that makes it enjoyable.

Right after that they whisk me right back into those rhythmic tap-dancing songs.  Clearly, this band is at its best when they stick to their guns.  And this new batch of tunes has a hint of maturity to it, without trying to go too far away from the band’s roots. They continue in this traditional vein for a few more minutes, still mixing it up enough to make this album interesting.

“Chandelier Lake” is one of those songs where they walk that line of trying to push themselves too far.  It’s got a fuzzy guitar swirling around the song, with some decent piano work added to it.  Still, its the kind of song I just don’t really expect from them; actually, I’ll give them credit for that–just not sold yet.

Then they follow that up with what is their closest effort to a dance song with “Dust Me Off.”  The tap dancing gets a bit tedious here, and I almost wish I could trade them in for some synthesized drum beats, or even real ones.  I like it-this is what they do well on this album–they pick up where they left off, and go forward.

The end of the album goes a little too far off for me, until the second to last track, “Blood Flower.”  The vocals here are really being pushed here, which gives it a different feel–once again going further with what I once thought was a really minimal sound.

Another cool tip is that each album comes with special artwork designed by local artists in their town.

Check out the band this Thursday, 7-17, at Emos.  You can pick up your tap shoes and head out to the show; just don’t forget your tickets.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/pot_kettle_black.mp3]

Download: pot_kettle_black.mp3

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