They Might Be Giants | Join Us

Idlewild/Rounder (2011)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  August 3, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

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I don't formally speak for all TMBG fans, but I think I speak for most TMBG fans when I say that every post-John Henry studio release has been greeted with crossed fingers and a mantra: "Pre-John Henry caliber." Admittedly, TMGB's 1994 transitional album is old news, and they are definitively no longer a duo operating under the necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention methodology. So, cautiously, I submit that Join Us, their 15th album and first non-children's release in four years, has that old-school TMBG feel, as if the Unlikely Rock Band ditched the self-conscious weirdo-geek shtick for a more genuine weirdo-geek non-shtick shtick. You've heard this line before, no doubt. Still: Linnell's delightfully circuitous melodies, in particular, are labyrinthian goodness. Songs eligible for immediate canonization include the funky-strange horn jam "The Lady and the Tiger" and the venom-delivered-with-a-smile jingle "When Will You Die" ("This is Dan and that's Dan/And there's Marty on the drums to complete the band/And I'm John and he is also John and all of us are wondering/When you're gonna die"). Flansburgh answers with the Who-ish "Judy Is Your Viet Nam" and the exquisitely off-kilter "Three Might Be Duende," smuggled in between your everyday songs about cephalophores, evolution, and cartography.

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS | Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass Ave, Boston | October 1 + 2 @ 7 pm | $25 | 617.266.7455

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Berklee Performance Center, They Might Be Giants,  More more >
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