Tilly and the Wall: O

Music Reviews Tilly and the Wall
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Tilly and the Wall: O

Omaha pop band comes of age on third release

Having survived the taint of novelty that accompanied using a tap-dancer percussionist instead of a drummer, Tilly and the Wall have finally reached a point where all accusations of gimmickry are afterthoughts.

Now mature pop songwriters, the Omaha quintet sounds more like a conventional band on O, favoring rousing sing-along choruses, richly layered pianos and trumpets, and even standard drum kits. Whether employing a 10-person stomp to form the rhythm for White Stripes-aping riff-fest “Pot Kettle Black” or marrying a tack piano to clattering pots and pans for the junkyard psychedelia of “Aligator Skin,” the band plays with a manic energy that dovetails perfectly with Neely Jenkins and Kianna Alarid’s starry-eyed vocals and meditations on catty girls, lost youth and broken hearts. Less successful is the kitschy ’80s synth-pop of “Falling Without Knowing” and “Dust Me Off,” two tracks that prove—even though they’ve grown up as tunesmiths—Tilly and the Wall are still prone to the occasional indiscretion.

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