10 tracks. Katie White and Jules De Martino needed a name for the "unintentional band" they'd created in 2007. For the sheer fun of it, Katie (vocals, guitar and bass drum) and Jules (vocals, drums, electronics) had begun writing songs together and doing impromptu shows as a two piece. Suddenly, they were generating massive excitement at a series of house parties at Manchester's Islington Mill, a derelict cotton mill from the Industrial Revolution converted into a thriving underground artist collective housing painters, filmmakers, writers, sculptures, musicians and more.
The debut album by Salford's The Ting Tings comes hot on the heels of their No.1 single "That's Not My Name", a nugget of pop gold that comes on like a genetic splicing of Toni Basil's "Micky" and The Knack's "My Sharona". The bulk of We Started Nothing
follows a similar formula, navigating a path between the smart, angular indie of CSS, Bonde Do Role, et al and the pop mainstream. Here and there, they pull it off perfectly: the stutter-rap of "Fruit Machine" sees vocalist Katie White leading on some poor sap with sultry charisma and lip-gloss sass, while the excellent "Shut Up and Let Me Go" is snappy dance-punk in the spirit of Blondie's "Rapture" or Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love". Elsewhere, they branch out with mixed results. "We Walk" builds from quiet flourishes of piano into a surprisingly steely manifesto: "Smash the rest up/Burn it down/Put us in the corner cause we're into ideas", sneers White. Rather less good is "Traffic Light", a light, jazzy number that employs a number of somewhat forced driving metaphors to describe a relationship hit the skids. Still, it's a debut with promise, and a string of good singles is nothing to be sniffed at. -Louis Pattison