They Might Be Giants – Glean
33 years in the game and still going strong! New York’s They Might Be Giants’ 17th album couples the band’s usual quirks with an abundance of stylistic influences.
Over the last three decades the band has provided material for TV’s Malcolm in the Middle, bagged two Grammys and progressed to sell over 4 million records worldwide.
Glean is comprised mainly of the band’s recently resurrected Dial A Song project, which premiered new music every Tuesday throughout the start of 2015. Even on surface level, it’s easy to see why this may be perceived as a flaw, as many of the album highlights have already been heard by fans.
The LP also stands at a lengthy 15 tracks, which contrives quite a tiresome journey, especially as few moments prevail in firmly grasping the listener’s attention. Among highlights is the glitch pop laden ‘Unpronounceable’, combining a spell of 80s new wave with some erratic synthesised stutters. ‘Aaa’ is a dizzying thrill ride on course to spiral out of control and is supplemented with a bizarre choice of lyrical imagery.
‘Glean’ does succeed, however, in giving the band room to experiment and venture into previously unexplored territory. Branching from the synth pop lavished ‘All the Lazy Boyfriends,’ to the bewildering crash of 40s swing inspired ‘Let Me Tell You about My Operation’. Although many tracks aren’t particularly catchy, the stylistic diversity on show is intriguing.
They Might Be Giants have proved that they’re still an extremely ambitious entity, although a few moments across Glean’s extensive journey may be hit or miss, they are easily atoned for by the vastly creative experimenting taking place throughout the record.
Words: Kieran James