Mink Car

Mink Car

4.5 7
by They Might Be Giants

It's been five years since the last proper They Might Be Giants album, and that's too long to go without a fresh dose of their catchy novelties. Mink Car finds John Linnell and John Flansburgh in fine form, doing what they do best: writing songs about the mundane (an ode to "Bangs"; a track about getting "Older" that acknowledges that you're aging each moment…  See more details below


It's been five years since the last proper They Might Be Giants album, and that's too long to go without a fresh dose of their catchy novelties. Mink Car finds John Linnell and John Flansburgh in fine form, doing what they do best: writing songs about the mundane (an ode to "Bangs"; a track about getting "Older" that acknowledges that you're aging each moment the song progresses) and the ridiculous (the speaker of "Cyclops Rock" compares himself to the schlock-horror film character Chuckie, aided by a screaming cameo from Catatonia's Cerys Matthews; "I've Got a Fang" is about just that), all set to impossibly hook-ridden melodies. Aided by their Band of Dans -- Hickey, Weinkauf, and Miller -- the two Johns occasionally toss out a serious song, such as the wistful "Another First Kiss," just to keep us on our toes. Most of the time, though, they just want to have fun, which they do in their music as skillfully as they do in their lyrics. "Man, It's So Loud in Here" is a hilarious parody of "Blue Monday"-period New Order, with programming help of Ivy/Fountains of Wayne member Adam Schlesinger. Mike Doughty helps turn "Mr. Excitement" into a warped mirror of his former band Soul Coughing. It takes a kind of genius to write a funny song that stands up to repeated listens, but after nearly 20 years together, Linnell and Flansburgh still know how to create timeless novelties.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Damas
Perhaps it's no surprise that following 1996's Factory Showroom, They Might Be Giants began a prolonged recording absence, releasing only the Internet-only album Long Tall Weekend in 1999. Factory Showroom suggested that the band had backed themselves into a corner, as the humor of their early records had waned and even the band's trademark hooks were confined to a few tracks. Mink Car, however, symbolizes a radical shift in direction -- backward -- into some of the same stylistic territory covered on their landmark 1990 album, Flood. Nowhere is this shift more evident than in the choice of Flood producers Langer and Winstanley on several cuts, particularly the Flood sound-alike "Bangs." Mink Car is far from a retread, however, as the band takes lessons that they've learned since 1990 -- like that they sound really, really good when they play with a full band -- and incorporates them into that classic sound. That means that Mink Car is in many ways the beginning of a new part of They Might Be Giants' career. Much like on Factory Showroom, the band does recycle a few cuts, including "Older" and "She Thinks She's Edith Head" from Long Tall Weekend and the non-LP single "Working Undercover for the Man" for the disc. But of the cuts, there's a healthy mixture of old-school TMBG humor in strange, short songs like "I've Got a Fang" and "Wicked Little Critta," and fairly straightforward pop
ock like "Another First Kiss." That track and the mock-Euro-disco-based first single, "Man, It's So Loud in Here," both sport the trademark radio-ready production of Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlessinger, who pops up in one of many cameo spots on the album. Former Soul Coughing vocalist M. Doughty also stops by to sing on a track, and Catatonia frontwoman Cerys Matthews screams one frightening verse in the stomping "Cyclops Rock." All this may sound like a mess, but the band seems to have realized that they're often loved because their sound is all over the place, not in spite of it, and in response to that revelation they've released one of their strongest batches of songs.
Rolling Stone - Barry Walters
[***] They Might Be Giants are just a stitch more serious about being silly, and that extra earnestness makes all the difference.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Restless Records


  1. Bangs
  2. Cyclops Rock
  3. Man, It's So Loud In Here
  4. Mr. Excitement - With Doughty (From Soul Coughing)
  5. Another First Kiss
  6. I've Got A Fang
  7. Hovering Sombrero
  8. Yeah Yeah
  9. Hopeless Bleak Despair
  10. Drink!
  11. Older
  12. Mink Car
  13. Wicked Little Critta
  14. Finished With Lies
  15. She Thinks She's Edith Head
  16. Working Undercover For The Man

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

They Might Be Giants   Primary Artist
Hearn Gadbois   Percussion
Phil Hernandez   Drums
Dan Hickey   Percussion,Drums
Luis Jardim   Percussion
Dan Levine   Trombone
Guy Pratt   Bass
Garo Yellin   Cello
Adam Schlesinger   Bass,Keyboards,Synthesizer Bass
Wayne Hankin   Rauschpfeife
Danny Weinkauf   Bass
Jim O'Connor   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Chris Maxwell   Bass
Cerys Matthews   Vocals
Clem Waldmann   Drums,Triangle,Shaker
Dan Miller   Guitar
Mike Doughty   Vocals,Voices,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

They Might Be Giants   Producer
Clive Langer   Producer
Albert Caiati   Producer
Patrick Dillett   Producer
John Flansburgh   Contributor
Phil Hernandez   Programming
John Holbrook   Producer
John Linnell   Contributor
Joe Nicolo   Producer
Alan Winstanley   Producer
Adam Schlesinger   Programming,Producer
Chris Maxwell   Programming

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Customer Reviews

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Mink Car 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For my money, it's the best TMBG record since the early 90's. I've been listening to the two John's since 1986. This one reminds me of the early days but has a definite 2000 edge to it. It's an absolute must for TMBG fans, and if you like quirky, hook-filled ditties with a twisted outlook on life, it's for you as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With more upbeat creativity, hum-along masterpieces, and 25% more cheese, Mink Car easily beats Factory Showrroom two-to-one in a taste test. While TMBG have not quite topped the brilliant John Henry I definitely keep Mink Car on the top shelf along with Apollo 18. The composition is well mixed with songs featuring the full band as well as the electronica which helped them garner a cult-like following. And if you've ever built a model car, you'll enjoy the liner concept.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've only been listening to the two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) for a few years, but everything they do is amazing. Mink Car is no exception to this. No other band can pull off the kind of music that they do. Their creative sounds are only matched by their own sense of humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mink Car is a brilliant album full of light and shade. Anyone with an open mind, an ear for melody, and a sense of the ironic should buy this album immediately irrespective of wether they have heard of TMBG or not!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Listened to the cd of Mink Car and I am plaesed to say that as a band they are getting better over time. Maybe I will become a true fan one of these days. If you want hear music from a local unknown Chicago Group that sounds like they have influenced by TMBG, then go to the Yahoo search engine and type in Beatnik Turtle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
mink car is definetely an awesome cd. there is a pretty wide range of songs. some songs have the classic tmbg feel to it and some songs like 'drink' remind me of the barenaked ladies.i think one of this albums main flaws is the inclusion of these 'novelty' songs. some of these songs are 'wicked little critta,' 'ive got a fang', 'mr xcitement'. but as a whole this is a good album and im glad they might be giants are venturing to new areas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago