They Might Be Giants, NANOBOTS

It's time again for the two Johns to bring us some musical weirdness, as They Might Be Giants release their new album Nanobots.  This album is fairly typical for the band -- with maybe a fewer highlights than usual.

Nanobots offeres the usual mix of themes from They Might Be Giants.  There's odd romance ("Too Tall Girl"), odd sentimentality (mainly in an ode to eccentric genius Nikolai Tesla; also in "Sometimes a Lonely Way"), slightly menacing paranoia ("Stone Cold Coup D'etat"), and things that are just plain strange ("Circular Karate Chop," "Insect Hospital").  The singing is slightly nasal, and the music is fueled by synthesizers without being too upbeat or club-oriented.

While Nanobots can be entertaining at times, there aren't too many songs here that really stand out.  The music tends for more quirkiness and overly clever lyrics ("You say/stuff is way/way to go/go away"), leading to a less cohesive feel than one would like in an album.  (Scattering songs from 10-40 seconds in length through the album doesn't help either.)  They Might Be Giants have been making music since 1980, and they remain an unusual and interesting sound in today's musical landscape; but Nanobots isn't a fully satisfying release from them.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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