Tilly and the Wall

Wild Like Children

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AllMusic Review by

The first thing you have to mention when you're talking about Tilly and the Wall is the drummer. She, Jamie Williams, is a tap dancer. Literally. Her hoofing provides the beats for this utterly charming release. Wild Like Children is the Omaha quintet's first album and it is a straight-out-of-nowhere gem. The tap dancing is pretty darn cool. The moment when she breaks into the "Be My Baby" beat on "Fell Down the Stairs" or the couple of bars of wild soloing on "Reckless" are like nothing you've heard on a pop record. But before you write the group off as a novelty act, listen to the wrenching tale of lost love "Let It Rain" or the tough punk ramble "Nights of the Living Dead" or the sweeter-than-NutraSweet ballad "I Always Knew." The tap dancing doesn't even enter into it; these are just fabulous songs performed with passion and imagination. The vocals are 100 percent committed -- the male voices insistent, the female unerringly lovely. When the voices all mass together like near the end of "Reckless" or in the choruses of "A Perfect Fit" they sound like the hippest high-school choir ever. And despite the claims of the title, this record is totally high school. It's wrapped up in passion, each love being the one, each moment being the greatest or worst ever. The wildly careening music, the epic lyrics, the surging harmonies, the emotions in motion -- it sounds and feels like every high-school dance since the beginning of higher education. And if that isn't rock & roll enough for you, what possibly could be? So don't be calling Tilly and the Wall twee or precious or any of those code words that would consign them to the fringes of the music world. They are what rock & roll should always be about: passion, imagination, commitment, and songs that make you want to mend all the broken hearts you can find. Powerful stuff, indeed. Don't let it pass you by.

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