Indestructible Object

Indestructible Object

by They Might Be Giants


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Indestructible Object

They Might Be Giants make their Barsuk debut with the Indestructible Object EP, which finds John Linnell and John Flansburgh sounding more mature than they have in years (and certainly more so than they did on their excellent children's album No!). They won't be mistaken for Radiohead anytime soon, but the Johns' famed quirkiness is dialed down a bit without sacrificing their essential playfulness. Indestructible Object begins and ends with its subtlest songs. "Am I Awake?" -- which is also the theme song for TLC's reality show about doctors, Resident Life -- is especially impressive, a mix of brisk synth pop and surreal lyrics ("What time is it? Is it that time again? Wasn't it already then?") that takes loops and loopy paranoia -- not to mention They Might Be Giants' sound -- in unique directions. The wittily named "Memo to Human Resources" is nearly as good, a jangly tale about a sad sack who may or may not be getting ready to end it all by jumping (complete with a countdown in the background). And while the version of "Caroline, No" that closes the EP can't compare with the Beach Boys' original, few things can, and Flansburgh's vocals, backed by brass and accordion, have a sweet vulnerability that serves the song well. Indestructible Object's remaining songs aren't so much weaker than the other songs as they are more predictable -- for They Might Be Giants, that is. "Au Contraire" culminates with Jodie Foster, Bach, and Gandhi playing poker, and "Ant" is a parable about how sleeping on your problems turns them from little ones into big ones. As witty and well crafted as these tracks are, the subtler songs on Indestructible Object are, paradoxically, more exciting and entertaining. Regardless, the EP is still another fine offering from one of alternative rock's most venerable, and consistent, acts.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/06/2004
Label: Barsuk
UPC: 0655173103524
catalogNumber: 31035
Rank: 135252

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Indestructible Object [EP] 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a few months, They Might Be Giants will release their tenth album entitled “The Spine”, but before they do, they will give us something to hold us over…barely. The aforementioned “thing” is the 5-track EP “Indestructible Object” (named after the Man Ray piece). The only reason this EP was given 4 stars instead of 5 is because it is only a tiny taste and not a full 20 course album. But that’s the negative; let’s focus on the positives… The first track on “Object” is “Am I Awake?” This is a spooky techno-esque piece describing the mind of someone having problems relating to the real world. It has aptly been used as the theme to TLC’s “Resident Life”. The unsettling lyrics mark a welcomed return to their non-child friendly, death-affirming content that their adults fans have come to love. The second track is a preview of their next album. “Memo to Human Resources” is voiced by a rambling, distracted and defeated person who knows the problem but has no way to find the solution. The “unreliable narrator” (a reoccurring character in They Might Be Giants’ music) says things out loud, but clearly to himself. Oddly enough, the image conjured by this song is that of Milton from the movie “Office Space”. While not the best TMBG song in their 20 year history, it has its moments. Next, we have another preview track: “Au Contraire.” This song first appeared on TMBG’s Dial-A-Song service a few years ago (and, actually, has the honor of being the last song on Dial-A-Song) and has been fleshed out nicely in their recent rock shows. This is its first appearance on record. Again, its surreal lyrics, which place Bach, Jodi Foster and Mahatma Gandhi in a poker game along with the accordion/guitar/drum machine components, return the listener to a time where you could only shake your head, smile and pretend you knew everything the band was talking about. Ah sweet elitism… Then we have two tracks created with the illustrious They Might Be Giants’ Other Thing Brass Band. First, a total reworking of the B-side “Ant” (from the 1990 “Istanbul (Not Constantinople) single). It features a “freak off” between Mr. John Linnell on the Kaoss pad and Mark “I Have An Inflated Ego Because I Play With the Conan O’Brien Band” Pender. Finally, a very vulnerable version of the Beach Boys’ “Caroline, No”. The tuba never sounded so sincere. The absolute best aspect of this EP is the promise of the next album (arriving in late July/early August). Don’t misunderstand, this is a great EP, well worth the eight or so dollars, but the main purpose of this disc (aside from showing off the talent of the Other Thing band) is to let us know that a few years of working with kids and kids music (the album “No!” and bedtime book “Bed, Bed, Bed”) has not softened the rock; They Might Be Giants are still here and posed to rock our metaphorical socks off.