Album Review: Tilly and the Wall – O

Tilly and the Wall’s third long-playing effort O sees the Nebraska quintet moving in an altogether more elegant direction. Even devotees of their previous, more charmingly rough-edged offerings will have to admit that this unexpectedly smooth, accomplished offering suits them just as well.

The full sound on ‘Poor Man’s Ice Cream’ really compliments Jamie Pressnall, who provides the band’s trademark flamenco percussion courtesy of her tap-dancing feet, and bluesy electric guitar riffs and a very punk-rock ‘fuck you’ chorus on ‘Too Excited’ demonstrate a more versatile side to a band which previously has pursued the most Nebraska of all sounds. Both ‘Falling Without Knowing’ and ‘Let the Beat Control You’ add to the air of experimentation, taking a delightfully retro direction, with hand-claps, over-lapping loops and drum machines.

In spite of their early connections with the once miserable Conor Oberst and the Mike Mogis (he of Bright Eyes fame) production on O, Tilly and the Wall have always made giddy, sunny music for giddy, sunny people. Admittedly, the record does have its gentle moments, with piano-driven ‘Tall Tall Grass’ and ‘Cacophony’ providing familiar, sweeter melodies, but truly, o may be their most bold and buoyant yet.

‘Dust Me Off’, a fine, crusading, sing-along ode to friendship, is certainly a stand-out track. Unashamedly feel-good lyrics like ‘because you’re a true friend I can count on, when I’m blue, you pull me up, you dust me off, you pull me through’ easily capture the essence of O, five fantastic friends having a fantastic time; and the best part is, they made us an album so we can join in.


Words: Joanna Legg