Ticks is the latest musical love child to come from the minds of UK partners in crime Hatty Taylor (vocals/synth) and Nigel Firth (guitar). After my first listen through Ticks I sat back and thought – “this EP doesn’t make sense.” And then – “and that is exactly why I love it!”
Opening with the title track, “Ticks” has a strong B-52’s vibe with that perfect surf rock guitar twang. But what becomes evidently clear very early on in this EP, is that Vienna Ditto are not content to stick with one genre – whether that is in a song or across 7-tracks. “Ticks” mixes animated elctro-synth and surf rock to create something that can only be described as Vienna Ditto. If there are other bands doing this – I haven’t come across them.
It doesn’t take long to realise how mischievous Vienna Ditto actually are. They effectively get you riled up and ready to dance with the opening track, and then they pull the rug out from under you with an electro infused blues track “Tiny Tambourines”. Sure, it’s a great toe tapper – but they have left you with all this energy. Your feet just want to dance. Your hips are primed and ready for some serious swaying – but nope! They decided to switch the mood without fair warning. Don’t worry though – this is what makes the EP great. The mash up of genres, the sharp turns – it keeps you guessing and on your toes.
Ok – so you figure it’s going to slow down a little – that’s cool. NOPE! On your feet people – “Frank Account” swaggers on to the scene with sci-fi synths and meaty bass lines to have you swing dancing the night away. I usually hate when an album is all over the place. I like cohesion. I like stability. But there is nothing stable about Ticks and I just can’t help but love it. “Motherless Child” takes you to a 1920’s jazz hall where the mood swiftly changes as Hatty serenades us. Instantly it feels like you are in a jazz hall of yesteryear – cigar smoke filling the air, the sound of whiskey being sipped in the background – as the audience sombrely listens to the lamentations of Hatty.
“My Way Of Missing You” maintains a mysterious vibe – with sexy synths and electronics that feels like the drug scene of a sci-fi movie. The rhythmic pulses, soft vocals and steady drum beats create a hypnotic atmosphere that does not prepare you for “Go Down Moses”. The second last track on the record starts innocently enough. Loose guitar and stripped vocals open the track, but then in comes those strong dancing beats and you better believe you are back on your feet again. And just as the EP opens with a strong lively track, it closes on a similar spirited note with “Come Back”. It all just comes back full circle. Ticks opened with a track that got you excited, before dropping the tempo and forcing you to change course – and that’s how it closes. “Come Back” gets you excited all over again – with wild guitars, synths and forceful vocals – but then it’s over. The EP ends. What are you meant to do? Well, it’s perfect really. Start the EP all over again. You’re in the mood for dancing and the first song is perfect for that. It’s a trick, I tell you. Vienna Ditto never want you to stop spinning this record – and I think they pulled it off – I don’t think you will ever want to.