Posted by: Ryan Allen on July 16, 2008 at 9:00 am

Tilly and the Wall, o (Team Love Records, 2008)

MP3: “Pot Kettle Black”

Remember when Jewel went slut-pop? Imagine Omaha’s Tilly and the Wall heading in the same direction, but not having to sell their soul in order to do so. Let us explain: Opener “Tall Tall Grass” be-bops its way in typical Tilly fashion — it’s twee, it’s poppy, and it sounds like another Omaha band with too much hype but not a whole lot of delivery (hey, take your pick). But as the album quickly progresses, old fans are in for a bit of a surprise, as the rest of the album switches things up to show that even twee-kitties like Tilly and the Wall like a little electro in their Meow Mix. Their classic glee-pop sound is still there, but o (yep, that’s the title) offers more electronic musings and heavier hooks this time around — and just like Jewel’s 2003 dance-pop head-scratcher 0304, the band ditches some of those acoustic guitars and over-earnestness for something a bit more new-wave and slick. Indeed, while a nice novelty, it seems band may have discovered that the tap-shoes-as-percussion thing that put them on the map may have not be the only trick’s up their sleeve (or pant leg, as it were). o‘s forays into more polished terrain shows that they’re capable of being a group of songwriters and performers, not just a boring mess of glitter, rainbows, and Gene Kelly clickity-clack. Stand-out track “Pot Kettle Black” is a happy-go-lucky “fuck you” anthem (and also a Wilco song, right?), possibly aimed at everyone who thought they were the one-dimensional group they seemed to be over the course of their past two full-lengths; we guess touring the world with dirt-bag dance phenoms CSS most likely do that to you. Next up: Judges on an awful “American Idol” for country fans and dating professional bull riders? Doubtful. But it’s fun to hear them mess with the formula, even if just for a little bit. Tap on, dudes. — Adam O’Connor

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