They Might Be Giants The Else

At this point in their career, They Might Be Giants should find it hard to offer any kind of surprises. Yet The Else, the band’s 12 album, isn’t quite what people might expect. Much of this is due to the production of the Dust Brothers, who simply add a new coat of paint to the songs rather than reconstruct them. But that’s more than enough to make the band sound refreshed and like they’re still having a lot of fun. These days, with their thumbs in so many different pies, it’s a nice change to hear them doing what they used to do: writing good pop songs. It probably isn’t a coincidence that some of the album’s best moments sound as if they could have been on any of their earlier albums, where they managed to find the right balance between poppiness and quirkiness. At the end of the day, it is just, for better or worse, another They Might Be Giants album, and it carries with it all the baggage that entails. However, it is still their best effort in quite some time and well worth a listen if you’ve ever found yourself humming along to one of their songs. (Zoë)