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Nanobots by They Might Be Giants
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9/10 Mike 06 March 2013

Here’s a treat in the middle of our otherwise somewhat dreary review parade this week - a brand new album from indiepop legends They Might Be Giants! Yes indeed, the Johns are back and this time round they’ve got loads of friends helping them out for what definitely ranks among their most slick and radio-ready collections to date, thanks in no small part to the involvement of super producer and regular collaborator Patrick Dillett, no doubt.

They’re working in full five-piece band mode, and then on top of that there are a multitude of friends joining in on piano, mandolin, vibraphone and woodwind in compositions as lush and sweeping as they’ve ever offered. It’s almost like they’ve been joined by the Afghan Whigs or something in places. Thankfully their throwaway hangdog charm remains as strong as ever, with their naive, matter-of-fact vocals and blackly humorous lyrics still taking the fore as they stomp their way gleefully through a mammoth 25 songs with as many infectious hooks and smart turns of phrase as an entire year’s worth of Guided By Voices records.

Those who long for the days when TMBG were a shambling, hyperproductive duo of whimsical lo-fi pop scientists may be dismayed by just how huge and radio-ready this collection sounds, but I love their full band stuff and think this is their most gleefully addictive album in ages. Sure, there’s the odd plodding misstep and it’s no ‘Flood’ but it is still a lively, playful and accomplished collection which makes it very clear they’re still much more than a nostalgia act with some real gems such as the title track and the mesmerisingly unhinged 'The Darlings Of Lumberland'. Rivers Cuomo should have a listen and take some notes. Shame there doesn’t seem to be a vinyl edition.


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