It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon and the sun is shining (finally the rain stopped!) and my window is open (finally less than 90 degrees outside!) so that the sounds of the not-so-recent album that has become my pretty-recent obsession can flood the neighborhood and all the little children riding their bikes in circles on my street can learn about “the shit gets thicker” and “don’t go f—ing around in the garden.” But seriously, I know Tilly & the Wall’s o came out like a year ago and a ton of people have already jumped that train, but my sister just bought it and let me borrow it and then she went to college and now I get it forever (until she comes back). So I’m going to talk about it now. (p.s. next week I’m going to write about more Dutch music, so if you miss Dutch Week, you should come back next week for the Subhuman and Lost Bears!)
I love Tilly & the Wall for their witty honesty, their playfulness, and their tap dancer. Musically speaking, they have a pretty distinct sound that isn’t at all gimmicky, which is saying a lot for a band that has a tap dancer instead of a drummer. “Tall Tall Grass” and “Chandelier Lake” are beautiful and melodic, while “Pot Kettle Black,” “Poor Man’s Ice Cream,” and “Too Excited” are percussive and sort of anthemic…maybe actually more like cheers than anthems. I don’t know, I’m not very good at this song-labelling. Anyway, you can yell “talk that talk that smack!” and “poor man’s ice cream poor man’s ice cream!” along with the band, and it’s pretty fun. Then you’ve got the playful dancey feel of “Alligator Skin” and “Dust Me Off,” which I listen to on repeat when I’m having a bad day. How do you possibly use a tap dancer instead of a drummer, you ask? I don’t know, but they do it, and it works. Combined with piano, bells and shakers, you get a unique percussive sound, not too heavy, and just quirky enough to be cool.
You know how much I love lyrics, and I have found Tilly & the Wall to be a place of comfort and understanding, which sounds amazingly dorky, but guess what, I don’t care. Eric has said it and I will too–it’s nice to hear artists singing about things we experience every day, like gossip and loneliness and infatuation. My favorite songs on the album are my favorites partly because of sound (“Falling Without Knowing” has the coolest electronic melodic sound ever), but also primarily because of lyrics. Example: “Dust Me Off”: “Sometimes looks aren’t on my side/got me shaking, up all night/and there’s nothing I can do/but I wanna talk to you/this shit’s making me feel bad/I’m so sick of feeling sad/why can’t I shake this mess…” It’s just fabulous. Also, on “Pot Kettle Black” they do not hold back–“the trash washes up to shore/even in this landlocked place/the shit gets thicker/its toxic, get it out of my face/pot kettle pot kettle black/talk that talk that smack(!!!!)”–and who doesn’t love that?
All I have to say about this album can be wrapped up in the lyrics of “Tall Tall Grass”…when there wasn’t anywhere for me to go, oh I stumbled into deep love with your rock’n’roll. Thanks, Tilly & the Wall, for your sheer awesomeness. Check out the video.