They Might Be Giants The Spine (Cooking Vinyl) There have been far too many bands that were far too clever for their own good. Roxy Music was one, all glam and Eno, but precious few good songs. They ended up a boring hotel lobby band as soon as punk came and blew those dusty cobwebs away. 10CC were similarly over-endowed with lyrics the pomposity of which would have served them well in their college junior common room. Usually, clever-dick bands have their time in the sun and then shrivel, buckling under the weight of their own wit. They Might Be Giants, on the other hand, have had too long in the sun. Since the 1980s the duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell have been peddling the sort of music that fans call ironic, the press call 'quirky', but most music lovers simply call dross. Whiny vocals have been their stock in trade since the get-go and they haven't changed the formula for The Spine, their 13th album. At the risk of sounding like my dad, it's difficult to tell one song from another on this CD. The only mild relief comes from Bastard Wants to Hit Me because you find yourself egging on the song's protagonist: 'yes, go on, please hit him, and again, and again'. Which is - I suppose the band would say - playing right into their little conceit. Well, tough. The best thing about this album is the knowledge that it will be a while before They Might Be Giants release another one.