Metro Chicago
Concord Music Hall
Lovers Lane

Tilly & The Wall preview

| May 31, 2006 | 0 Comments

Tilly & The Wall
Abbey, Chicago
Tuesday, June 6, 2006


Not to be negative, but it wouldn’t work to Tilly & The Wall’s favor to get huge. The five-piece (sometimes more) have discovered a particularly addictive brand of twee pop of the sort that’s on the rise (Decemberists, Shins, etc.), but have one element best appreciated in small clubs: Jamie Williams, tap dancer.

At first it seemed a cheap ploy to separate themselves from brooding cousins in the Saddle Creek/Team Love scene (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, Azure Ray), yet once Williams gets going the novelty wears off and the essentiality takes hold. (Could you take a whole Simon & Garfunkel album of songs syncopated like “Cecilia”? If so . . .) You could call them the *real* Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and they even do a rollicking cover of OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” yet, as with any outfit, there need to be songs.

The Wall’s second album, Bottoms Of Barrels (Team Love), avoids Mates Of State syndrome by refusing to complicate an F.U.N. formula by clunking it up. The out-of-their-minds enthusiam that is their bread ‘n’ butter remains, but vocalists Kianna Alarid and Neely Jenkins have some real meat behind their child-like refrains. “Urgency” protests without pointing fingers (“Two little kids out selling lemonade in the sun/If you want them raised right you better start them young”), while “Love Song” tries to will infatuation into something sustainable. Guitarist Derek Pressnall weighs Barrels down when he’s on the mic, rather needlessly, closing the session with the alternately despondent and resilient “Coughing Colors.” It’s here Williams’ happy feet fail the band, because she should be using her hands to pick Pressnall up.

David Dondero and Scotland Yard Gospel Choir open.

Steve Forstneger

Click here to download the video for “Reckless.”

Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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