Tilly and the Wall – Bottoms of Barrels

I refuse to rearrange the furniture for any band

I refuse to rearrange the furniture for any band


I’ve actually listened to this one a couple times before sitting down tonight. Once on Friday night after footie, when I was shitted, and then again on Sunday afternoon when I was making the dinner, after footie, when I was not only shitted but also had mild concussion.


So with good intention, and almost sober, I slotted the disc into my PC to be rewarded with a “Making Of” film. Being both a bit of a Luddite and a lazy git, having these pictures mysteriously appear on my screen without so much as click of that controller thing with the ball in the bottom, was an instant hit. I’ve no doubt that many CD’s now have 3D, fucking hologram beaming laser shows, but it was a novelty for me and I don’t care what you think.


Easily bored and with the noble idea of perhaps handing in an article within the allotted decade, I thought I’d have a listen to the CD itself. Not unreasonably, I expected this to be a relatively easy task.


How wrong I was. Or perhaps how thick I am? It’s now 38 minutes later and I’ve had to employ my trusty old CD player and I’m a giant leap closer to getting shitted again.


Tilly, The Wall, all peoples of the world, I implore you. Please; I don’t care what sort of fancy, technical nonsense you concoct to show your wares, always include a fucking big button that says “Play the Fucking Music”. People like me exist. Help me out. I haven’t got the fucking patience.


Apart from the inconvenience of having to get up and down and fuck about with the stereo cos I’ve lost the remote and I refuse to rearrange the furniture for any band, it’s a great little album. My initial impression was Irish – girls singing folksy vocals with a percussion background for Patience, Babe. Then, with a scream, we’re into Sing Songs Along and it’s a whole new world. It’s starts off all Mamas and Papas meets Stereolab, then it’s like Brian Wilson drops by for an uplifting chorus. Later that same evening, The Corrs show up – just for a few minutes, to tidy up – and their sobering influence is enough to stop things going over the edge, but not enough to suffocate anything. This is a really good track.


Along with the great harmonies, the thing that sets this apart is the fantastic percussion which, whilst sounding remarkably like someone jumping up and down on a box, is actually, to a certain degree, someone jumping up and down on a box. It’s a great approach which serves to highlight the sterility of the drumming/drum sounds that so many bands are so unwilling to question. I have no idea what other items they variously, thwack, twat and wallop but it’s a great foundation for some solid song building. I admire a band that aren’t afraid to do things the hard way.


It carries on with Lost Girls which might have been good, if unremarkable, in other peoples hands but it’s that percussive backdrop that kicks The Corrs out, just before they put the magazines in alphabetical order, and fold the end of the bog roll into a neat little point.


The Corrs are by no means invited to every offering on the disc. Slightly clever, dumb punk, if there is such a thing, rears it’s beautiful head in Urgency. It won’t scare your Granny, but it’s got some bollocks and the harmonies are now more New Wave than New Seekers.


Hold the phone! It’s a drum machine! Quiet arpeggios, chorus pedals and reverb. The Corrs have rounded up every able-bodied man, woman and child in the whole of Corrland and they’ve surrounded the building. Tilly, The Wall, The Mamas, The Papas, Stereolab, Brian Wilson and the people that jump up and down on boxes, set the place on fire and poison themselves in a Waco style stand-off that is. OK so all this bollocks about The Corrs is a bit of an exaggeration but Freest Man lacks the lo-fi, “real” atmosphere created elsewhere on the disc – it’s just a bit too tidy for me.


Not to worry, they’re soon back doing their clackety, thwackety thing and then close off with a couple of melancholy numbers and then finally the curiously optimistic Brave Day. Curiously optimistic because lyrically it’s quite miserable, yet it’s got an uplifting element musically that infects not only this song, but the majority of the tracks on the album.


Without a doubt the best bits for me are the raw bits. All the banging that I keep banging on about, the lyrics are good, they have a fine mix of voices and real instruments. They’ve definitely created a “sound” on Bottoms of Barrels. Will it set the world on fire? Will it bollocks. But they can be justly proud and I desperately hope they don’t tire of doing things the hard way.



Words: MONO