They Might Be Giants

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2007, 12:00am

They Might Be Giants

The Else


The dream looked like being over for They Might Be Giants.

The inspired, often bizarrely catchy pop that fuelled their self-titled debut back in 1986 had dwindled over 20 years into experiments in children's music and worse - patchy studio efforts bereft of their gloriously off-kilter flourishes.

An ageing and irrelevant band, it was thought, simply going through the motions. How wrong those naysayers were.

All it has taken is a little help from the Dust Brothers - the guys who in the 1990s put the funk into Beck, among others - and TMBG have bounced back with a selection of songs that can be counted among their best.

TMBG's mainstays John Linnell and John Flansburgh have returned to safe territory - combining their crazed lyrics with punchy pop- fused melodies. While things start slowly, it's when the Dust Brothers' signature horns start wailing that The Else lifts off.

Bee of the Bird of the Moth is a slice of manic genius, while The Withered Hope is the happiest 'sad' song you're ever likely to hear.

They even beef things up on Feign Amnesia - perhaps as close as TMBG have ever come to matching their seminal Don't Let's Start.

As always, the songs don't linger - most last about two minutes - and build to a final, superb, piece of nonsense. It's a song that's either about a band called the Mesopotamians, or a song that's actually about a bunch of Mesopotamians. Who knows - and who really cares?