Exploding heads, karate chops and nanobots
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 20:03
Artist: They Might Be Giants
Label: Idlewild Recordings and Megaforce Records
Release Date: March 5
If any one band had to write a soundtrack for Looney Tunes, They Might Be Giants would be the first applicants, and their new album would fit very comfortably between Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and exploding ACME products.
It might be hard to believe, but They Might Be Giants have been in the business for a long while now. Their 16th studio album, Nanobots, was released Tuesday, March 5 on the band’s record label, Idlewild Recordings, with free streaming on their SoundCloud one week prior to release.
With 25 tracks, nine of which play under one minute and only three over three minutes, Nanobots showcases some of the best They Might Be Giants has to offer. All of the songs are catchy, fun, upbeat and hysterical, with songs about exploding heads, robots, self-defense classes and Blade Runner-style replicates.
The lyrics are silly and nonsensical, making the album the perfect pick-me-up for a rainy day or post-midterm trauma therapy. It’s nerd rock at its finest.
The music is fairly minimalistic and unproduced, which is typical for They Might Be Giants. With clean electric guitar arpeggios, clarinet and saxophone riffs, tight drum beats and a couple of really cool instrument parts like accordions, mandolins, and vibraphones, Nanobotsis remarkable, with no songs seeming too similar or too out of place.
One of the most sensible tracks on the album, “Tesla” is a soft, ballad style tribute to Nicolai Tesla, A/C power, radar detection, X-rays and death rays. Other songs like “Lost My Mind,” “Circular Karate Chop,” and “Insect Hospital” are just as fun and well written, showing great focus from the band on this album.
A couple of the songs take on an early Kinks-style, pre-punk rock feel, while others vaguely feel like early Beatles and surf rock. But trying to compare They Might Be Giants to anyone else just proves impossible with the absurd variety on the album, and you fall back saying it sounds like TMBG.
Every song on the album is a joke, with punch lines and downright weird lyrics or silly accordion riffs so out of place – it’s hard not to laugh. Overall, TMBG has done a wonderful job with Nanobots, lacking any detectable weakest link. Like all their music, it could be played at your house party Friday night or in a kindergarten classroom for 5-year-old kids.
With the new album, They Might Be Giants announced a North American and Australian tour, conveniently skipping over Western New York and Toronto-area Canada, much to the disappointment to Buffalo and Rochester area fans.
Regardless, Nanobots is a tremendous success, reminding us why TMBG has been a band since 1982.