Indestructible Object

They Might Be Giants

Barsuk Records

For over 20 years, They Might Be Giants have produced quirky, brainy music that defies easy categorization. Every now and then they pop into the mainstream (1990’s Flood album and the theme for Malcolm in the Middle, most prominently) but for the most part TMBG have quietly put out records for a dedicated group of socially awkward but sophisticated fans.

Indestructible Object, like the dozen or so other EPs the band has released, is a mixed bag, showing both the quirky experimentalism that fans love and a bit of the band treading water. The EP opens strong with “Am I Awake?,” which is another TV theme song (this one featured on TLC’s Resident Life) and combines an interesting take on electroclash sounds with amusing “did I leave the iron on?” lyrics. The jangly character sketch “Memo to Human Resources” is a witty bit of musical black comedy and the rather straightforward cover of the Beach Boys’ “Caroline No!,” which ends the EP, is nothing if not charming.

The EP’s two remaining tracks, while not bad, just don’t match up to the rest of Indestructible Object. Bouncy “Au Contraire” has obscure, pop culture-packed lyrics that almost sound like TMBG were trying to do an imitation of themselves, and “Ant,” with its vaguely kiddie lyrics and brighter feel, might have sounded better on NO!, 2002’s album of children’s music.

Overall, this EP shows why They Might Be Giants are a unique and important band but casual fans might do better to wait for the band’s next full-length.

Rob G. is co-host of The FreeZone, which airs from midnight to 4 a.m. on WICR (88.7 FM).

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