I’m happy to report that The Ting Tings (Katie White + Jules De Martino) are back and in proper form with their new single, “Wrong Club.” The single, out August 18th, appears on the band’s forthcoming third studio album, Super Critical, set for release October 20th via Finca/PIAS. Scope out the video, directed by Lisa Paclet, known for her work with fashion brands such as Dior, Hermes, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent as well as collaborations with art direction firms Petronio Associates, Skerzo and the Magazine Self Service.
The video was filmed in an old warehouse in Paris with choreographers, Oliver Casamayou and Carine Charaire (together known as I Could Never Be A Dancer) who have lent their talents to Kylie Minogue, Pet Shop Boys, MGMT and Willy Moon.
I’m really feeling the retro club friendly vibe of this first single, a sound the band needed to bring back, especially after their last album, 2012’s Sounds From Nowheresville, failed to connect with me on…well, any level. Especially disappointing given how much I loved their debut album, We Started Nothing. Sounds like both Katie & Jules fully realize that album #2 was not their best work. While the band didn’t necessarily point a finger at their old label, it sounds like label politics played a role in the disjointed sound heard on Nowheresville. Too many cooks in the kitchen…the band being pulled in different creative directions…too many men in suits whispering in their ears about what the album should sound like, what the first single should be, etc. etc. etc. Well, whatever those label execs did, didn’t work. The album, while not a total bomb, failed to see the same success as it’s predecessor. We Started Nothing hit the top of the UK Album charts and produced two top 10 hits (including the #1 “That’s Not My Name“), while Sounds From Nowheresville just barely missed the Top 20, peaking at #23. Not only that, but the album didn’t have a hit single. “Hands,” technically the first single, came out a full two years before the album and was the highest charting hit, peaking at #29. Follow up single, “Hang It Up” peaked at #124 while “Hit Me Down Sonny” failed to chart altogether. Before starting on their third album, The Ting Tings knew they had to ditch the label and that’s exactly what they did.
The inspiration behind Super Critical? What do you think of when you hear IBIZA. PARTY-PARTY-PARTY! While the duo felt a little apprehension about recording the new record in Ibiza given all of the distractions on the island…turns out that a little sun, sand and clubbin’ was just what the doctor ordered. The Ting Tings began working on the new album at a rented Finca (the name of the new label?) near the town of Santa Gertrudis. While the island vibe and nightlife of Ibiza was a clear and present influence on Super Critical, so was “the touchstone glamour and twilight excess of 70s New York.” When Katie stumbled upon an old photo of Diana Ross sitting in behind the DJ booth at NYC’s iconic Studio 54 in all her DIVA GLAM GLORY…the tone of the album was set. I mean, come on! Diana Ross makes for the perfect spirit animal. Additionally, while in Ibiza the duo was introduced to Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor who ended up working with them in the studio. Working with Taylor turned into quite the fruitful collaboration not to mention an educational experience. According to Jules;
“His old analogue approach, the studio set-ups he used in the 80s with Duran were perfect for the sound we were looking for. That approach isnt around anymore. Studio people dont know how to achieve it.”
According to the press release, the “first single ‘Wrong Club’ spells its intent out in bold letters,“ describing the sound as “cut at a median cross-point of the Holy Grail of all crate-digging disco evangelism it taps its toe to Chic and Tom Tom Club without sacrificing any of the unique, angular noise the band had fashioned back in Salford.” Hailing this new, warmer, “woody, organic and original” incarnation of The Ting Tings as Version 3.0, I have to say I’m ready to give these guys another shot.
While it sounds like major labels were, once again chomping at the bit as soon as they heard about their new sound, Katie & Jules were determined to go at this one on their own. Now, back with their old manager The Ting Tings are ready to prove themselves. So far so good, I say.
“Super Critical is not just about Katie and Jules making a hook-stuffed, glowing, confrontational, warm, wordy and wonderful modern disco record. It was about finding out who they are again.”