It's songs like this that remind me why Tilly and the Wall remain one of my favorite current bands going. You can call them cutesy or whatever, but their pop intuitions are nothing but serious business. While their latest album, o, doesn't have as many magical moments as their 2006 effort, Bottoms of Barrels, there is still plenty of that Tilly and the Wall charm to go around and the evolution of their sound will still make it worth your time. The first album, Wild Like Children, established their trademark sound, relying heavily on Jamie Presnall's tap dancing as the percussion and a minimal splattering of acoustic guitars, pianos and harmonies. Bottoms of Barrels, a top 10 album for me in '06, added a fuller sound, bringing more bottom and live drums to the mix. o sees Tilly and the Wall sounding more like a traditional rock band than it ever has, with its heavy use of distorted guitars and live drums on nearly every track. The tap dancing is still there, but it's no longer the backbone of the group. "Chandelier Lake" shows that they can still excite and remain unique with their expanded sound. It has all the elements that've made the group so beloved in the first place. Of course, the tap dancing is there, but what I've always loved about its use in the group is that it never comes off as gimmicky. The arrangements add to the music without taking too much attention away from the song, which is all you can ask for of any musician of any sort. And what would a great Tilly song be without twee harmonies and a sunny chorus? On paper, it may not seem any different than your average Tilly song, but the heavy guitars provide an exuberance and energy that hasn't been seen in their catalogue yet. It makes you smile, but instead of simply tapping your feet, it makes you want to bounce from side to side.
Tilly and the Wall - "Chandelier Lake"
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