Almost exactly 21 years ago, the now legendary Bar/None Records released their second record, an eponymous debut by a New York City-based band called They Might Be Giants. Armed with a hit single, “Don’t Let’s Start,” the goofy duo of Johns (Linnell and Flanburgh) started touring the country, eventually playing enough shows and writing enough songs to earn a reputation for being the “hardest working men in show business.”
Hot on the heels of their hard-working 14th studio album, The Else, the Johns also recently completed their third children’s album, Here Come the 123s, set to be released on Feb. 5, 2008. Oh, and they have a somewhat recent B-sides album on shelves and are almost always contributing their work to various film projects and compilations. Yeah, it’s pretty safe to say that the Johns of TMBG are keeping up their dripping-with-sweat reputation for hard work.
For those unfamiliar with the duo’s music … err … scratch that, everyone knows TMBG, even if they might not realize it at first blush. For starters, there’s “Particle Man,” and if that doesn’t hook you, surely “Ana NG,” “Birdhouse in Your Soul” or “I Palindrome I” will. Here’s the trump card for the 2 percent of you still scratching your noggins: “Boss of Me,” a song even your 96-year-old grandma knows by heart, thanks to it’s weekly inclusion in the hit television series Malcolm In the Middle.
Whether you’ve heard one or all of the aforementioned songs doesn’t matter, the fact that you’ve heard TMBG at all should be reason enough to check ’em out each time they come to town. They have and always will sound like no one else — almost as if the Talking Heads stopped being cool in 1981, built a clubhouse, started sucking helium and had band practice with Nickelodeon playing in the background. They’re new wave. They’re indie rock. They’re pop rock. But mostly, they’re silly, smart and irreplaceable.