Tuesday, July 3, 2012

They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18

My older sister had a certain power over guys. I know that's a weird way to start an album review, but I promise to bring it around. Anyway, guys tended to give her things. More than one guy gave her a ring and refused to take it back when the answer was "no." I think one sucker even gave her a car. She wasn't a gold digger, guys just wanted to give her stuff and she spent more than a little time trying to get them to take it back. Anyway, I was introduced to Apollo 18 because one of my sister's guys gave her his CD player and entire CD collection (his collection was also my introduction to The Cure. For a dope he didn't have bad taste). See? I told you I'd bring it around.

Anyway, when my sister first got the collection, she and I were immediately taken by the 21 track oddity that is "Fingertips." It's basically a song cycle comprised of snippets, most of which are under 15 seconds long. You'll get typically weird They Might Be Giants statements like, "What's that blue thing doing here?" or "I found a new friend underneath my pillow" but instead of being the hook of a three minute song, they are 15 second songs with no other parts whatsoever. It's a disjointed roller coaster ride through the minds of two of the most interesting guys in modern music (call the two Johns what you will, but you can't say they aren't at least interesting). "Fingertips" is clearly the biggest reason to check this album out, but there are a couple other decent tunes to round out the album. "The Guitar" is one of the band's best live songs, and "She's Actual Size" is still clever after all these years. Unfortunately, not all the tracks on this disc are great. Some of them are barely clearing the bar at mediocre. As an album Apollo 18 is not the best TMBG can do, but the tracks that work are as good as anything they've ever offered up.

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