Despite having thirty years of music behind them, along with two Grammy awards, They Might Be Giants seem to have about as much pretension as a man running naked through a mall. They still sing unabashedly about odd things like astronauts playing golf on the moon, the urge to flip off do-gooders, and the ancient art of cloisonné making. That’s their niche, though; walking that fine line between strange and relatable. They walk it so well, in fact, that they can go back and forth between making music for children and making music for the children stuck in adult bodies without appearing to undermine their aesthetic. Their fans know that they’re just out to have a good time playing fun, upbeat music.
In 2011, They Might Be Giants returned to making “grown-up” music with their fifteenth studio album Join Us. “Can’t Keep Johnny Down” and “Cloisonné,” both from the new record, do well to show the versatility of the album as well as the instrument versatility of the band members. While “Can’t Keep Johnny Down,” the album’s opener, rocks like witty, unpretentious alternative rock should, “Cloisonné,” is a quiet, almost polka-like tune that is as goofy as it is creative. Needless to say, both songs are enjoyable, and there’s a good chance you’ll be struck with an urge to watch reruns of Malcolm in the Middle.
Recorded and Mixed by Marc Johnson at The Pop Machine
Filmed and Edited by Doug Fellegy
Written by Gerard Pannekoek