Funny Peculiar

Unknown source, 1990

They Might Be Giants are the year's most unlikely and most pleasing success story. An intelligent, wacky Yank post-punk duo, their success with the single "Birdhouse in Your Soul" took their cult following and their record company by surprise.

They Might Be Giants was their debut LP, released in 1986 on the tiny Bar-None Records--and little here would have pointed to future stardom. Admittedly, anyone owning their current LP, Flood, will find similar lyrical and musical themes, and although the production is less than lavish, John Linnell (accordion, vocals, etc) and John Flansburgh (guitar, vocals, etc) are constantly fascinating in their quirky multi-instrumentalism.

The recently re-released "Don't Let's Start" is the best pop song here, but there are plenty of tunes to merit repeated listening. And then there are the one-liners, the bizarre truisms which attracted their cult following in the first place. This album's littered with them, and each play reveals hidden barbs and wry observations. "I Hope That I Get Old Before I Get Old" [sic] is a belated riposte to The Who's "My Generation," an anti-rock anthem with lines like "I'll think about the dirt I'll be wearing as a shirt."