July 17, 2008

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The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing
Columbia Records, June 3

Dance-punk isn’t dance-punk anymore; it’s a sea of one- and two-man operations doing as much (or more) with their laptops during the commercial breaks of Will & Grace reruns as full power-trios used to accomplish in six months. The fact that this Brit girl-boy duo sounds just as fabulously sexy-bratty as No Doubt should be a wake-up call to musicians whose dreams don’t get more adventurous than low-slung guitars and drug-overdosing drummers: rock is deader than ever, but its Dawn of the Dead corpse is packing an Uzi.

Fine, be that way. At least the Ting Tings admit that they’ve Started Nothing, leaving them gleefully free to fill various cultural voids without looking over their shoulders at stupid music critics. And jeez-Louise, you gotta know that all these corporate-bovine, text-geeking, horrible-awful 20somethings could sure use them some Toni Basil-style cheerleader-punk (“That’s Not My Name”) and a warping back to the days when Gwen Stefani wasn’t an untouchable, paparazzi-fearing cipher (“Traffic Light”). Then again, maybe Generation whatever-letter has gotten too much of that stuff, and if that’s your view, the Ting Tings have got your back,. This monstrously infectious album argues that they could pull off just that. AEric W. Saeger