Hitch up your I-Pods, egg-headed hipsters of the future: They Might Be Giants, the out-there band that files its sound under the banner of "Can't We All Just Get Along" is speaking your language. What they're saying is No!
, but in a way that's weirdly welcoming, especially to anybody who's over 3 and has a hard drive. No!
's computer enhancements (animation, games, and a sing-along scroll bar) don't assign the strictly audio experience to the so-what pile, but at certain moments they seem necessary--how else are you supposed to decipher a song ("Violin") whose only words are "violin," "hippo," and the ticking off of fractional segments of George Washington's head? Of course, to try to make sense of the 17 tunes contained here may be to miss the point. While TMBG's lyrical and vocal hijinks can be off-putting to grownups prone to self-consciousness about not getting the joke, the generation No!
takes aim at needs nothing in the way of validation. Thus the brilliance of baggage-free ditties like "Fibber Island," where the natives strum rubber guitars and sew buttons on cars, "John Lee Supertaster," a rock & roll fantasy following a hero with heightened senses of sweet and sour, and "I Am a Grocery Bag," detailing what's bumping around in brown paper after a trip to the market. With their triumph over the tube (TMBG took home a Grammy for the theme to Malcolm in the Middle
and perform and wrote the intro to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
), frontmen John Linnell and John Flansburgh have already infiltrated the family market, sort of. No!
finds the band bending to a level lots of other giants might overlook, but without cramping up. Given the right reach, They Could Be Kiddie Icons. -Tammy La Gorce
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