VOICES Notes and news on New Releases
29 JUL 11 DAVID VIENNA
For decades, They Might Be Giants have crafted whimsical songs with indelible pop hooks. Members John Linnell and John Flansburgh's style easily lent itself to children's music, which they forayed into for a handful of years. Now, the duo return to their alternative rock roots with a decidedly adult album, Join Us.
Like They Might Be Giants' early albums, Join Us is dense with complex yet singable melodies, witheringly clever wordplay, an irreverent philosophy and a complete disregard of fashionable trends in music. But, this release also offers a sense of maturity gained over the course of their long career as if their musical exploration finally led to a destination, one hinted at on their 1990 breakout release Flood.
Songs like the "Can't Keep Johnny Down" and "Judy Is Your Viet Nam" come at you with a relentless catchiness and straightforward construction. Of course, They Might Be Giants' signature playfulness remains on tracks like "Protagonist" and "You Probably Get That A Lot."
With fantastic melodies and dynamic arrangements providing access for listeners who may have been put off by their more experimental works, the Johns (as they are known to fans) have delivered a phenomenal collection on Join Us that highlights their greatest strengths.