They Might Be Giants
Longtime Ink 19 readers likely are already aware that I’m one of the most unabashed They Might Be Giants fans in existence. As far as I’m concerned, the band can do no wrong, and I’ve even enjoyed the albums that many TMBG fans have considered the lean years — John Henry, Factory Showroom, et al. I’ve even liked the oddball stuff they’ve done over the last five years since their most recent studio album, including their MP3-only releases for eMusic (http://www.emusic.com). So what I’m about to say should carry some weight, coming from someone who’s something of a connoisseur of all things They Might Be Giants: Mink Car is the band’s best album in at least a decade, easily the equal (if not better) of Apollo 18, and the long-awaited perfect synthesis of the eclectic experimentation of Lincoln and the more muscular full band sound of the last decade’s worth of material. Mink Car veritably crackles with energy and enthusiasm, ricocheting effortlessly from the sweet pop of “Bangs” to the stomping, chiming rock of “Cyclops Rock,” and from the relentless electronic dance of “Man, It’s So Loud in Here” to the truly unusual beat poetry-meets-turntablism of “Mr. Xcitement” (with vocals from Soul Coughing’s M. Doughty). And that’s just the four tracks! Other highlights include the pretty “Another First Kiss,” the spooky “I’ve Got a Fang,” the irresistibly catchy “Yeh Yeh,” and the fat, stomping “Wicked Little Critta.” The band’s typically surreal and quirky lyrical play is as solid as ever — check out the “wicked” Boston slang of “Critta,” the bizarre hallucinations of the Child’s Play-obsessed protagonist of “Cyclops,” or the title track’s chorus, “I got hit by a mink car/Driven by a guitar,” for prime examples. If you’re one of those fans that has tuned out over the last few years, this is the perfect album to bring you back into the TMBG fold. And if you’ve stuck with the band all these years, you’ll find that Mink Car more than justifies your continued faith in the band. Easily one of the best albums of the year, and a hard-earned triumph.