They Might Be Giants, those most nerdy, delightful purveyors of pop, return with their 16th album in their two decades of existence.
Unsurprisingly and adorably titled “Nanobots,” the album is another diverse yet consistent release from the band. It’s that same old inimitable blend of playfulness, experimentation, pop savvy, intelligence and nerd culture references that is to be expected from the wily, grinning group.
“Nanobots” begins with more pop savvy than overt weirdness with the combustible heads of lead single “You’re on Fire” and the catchiness of the title track. It’s a top-heavy album, with the strongest, most memorable tracks coming early with decent fare filling in the cracks later.
It’s hard to grade a band like They Might Be Giants in the same way as other bands. They’re quirky without being a comedy group. They’ve released children’s albums and have Schoolhouse Rock reminiscent educational songs, such as “Tesla,” while still being prominently indie rock figures. They’re the Grammy winning recorders of the Malcolm in the Middle theme song, and few other bands could pull off the chorus “You’re so proud of your circular karate chop.”
There are some throwaways, which will happen when there are more than 20 songs, with a few clocking in at under a minute. There are numerous gems throughout, though—the anthemic-as-they-get title track and French phrase spouting “Stone Cold Coup d’État” as a prime example.
“Nanobots” is a fair enough album from a veteran group—not their best, but enjoyable nonetheless. Fun, funny and as creative as ever, They Might Be Giants have submitted just one more in a long line of enjoyable albums. They’re still doing their thing.