Since 1982, when long time friends John Flansburgh and John Linnell united and formed the band They Might Be Giants, the landscape of the alternative music world would never be the same.
And now it’s 2013, and everyone’s favorite quirky alt-rock band is releasing their 16th studio album (wow that’s a lot of albums!), Nanobots, and it is pure, classic TMBG’s music. Most people got their introduction to the band around their third album, “Flood”, which was released back in 1990 with college radio hits like “Istanbul (not Constantinople)” and “Birdhouse in Your Soul”.
For the long time fans of the band, and new fans that are unfamiliar with the whole TMBG’s catalog, Nanobots is not disappointing at all. With the distinctive nasally vocals and quick, short little songs (the album has 25 tracks, but none longer than three and half minutes) the album takes you to the informational, to the downright happy, the quirky funny and the melancholy all in quick little bursts, not every band that can start an album with a song about combustible heads, but somehow that seems right at home for TMBG.
They Might Be Giants’ “Call You Mom”
No joke, first track on the album is the very fun, “You’re on Fire”, and with lyrics like, “Hi, You’re Head’s on Fire” it pretty much sets the stage for the whole album. Which is to say, with songs this strange, weird and yet so poppy and happy, it’s impossible not to smile while listening to the album. And even a few of the tracks make you down right laugh, for example “Black Ops” starts straight out of the gate as what would sound like a subdued and moody track, but when the lyrics start, “Black Ops, Black Ops, a holiday for Secret Cops”, how can a person not giggle, even just a little?
And if that isn’t enough, how about tackling the subject of finding the right girl? Yep, they go there too, with the hilarious “Call You Mom”, in which they declare right off the bat, “I think I’d like to call you Mom, Because you remind me of my Mom”, a bouncy upbeat, slightly rockabilly tinged musical medley about how the girl of his dreams, is exactly like his Mom. Now, that’s just what every girl wants to hear. And yet, TMBG’s make it fun.
Super happy and poppy power chords and fun vocals and lyrics make the track “Circular Karate Chop” an instant TMBG’s hit, and the same goes for the subdued and melancholy tale of the lamented inventor, Nicola Tesla who is the subject of the song “Tesla”, and the tale of tortured love told in “Didn’t Kill Me”. No matter what range of the musical spectrum this album goes to, you can’t help but go along with it, humming and smiling. They Might Be Giants is probably one of the most uplifting and completely fun bands, that never took themselves too seriously and have managed to remain a favorite for over 20 years.
The band is currently on tour in the US through April and then a brief trip off to Australia before coming back to tour the US through June. For all of the details on the tour, the new album, and even the brand new iPhone music app for the band, you can find it all on their website at http://www.theymightbegiants.com/
Written by Christina Lawler
OurVinyl | Contributor
[To purchase this album in iTunes click here]