Since their early albums “Lincoln” and “Flood,” John Linnell and John Flansburgh, the self-appointed supercilious music nerds of They Might Be Giants, have displayed a remarkable talent for straddling the fence between disdain for and celebration of the pop tune. Usually sweet and upbeat on the surface, their lyrics contain a level of sarcasm that becomes the spoonful of medicine to make the sugar go down.
They have continued this practice on their latest Restless Records release “Mink Car.” Songs of despair and paralysis play out as cheerful as a breakfast-cereal commercial, while other tracks evidently relish exactly what they rag on. In the track, “Man, It’s So Loud in Here,” the vocalist rolls his eyes at the fate of electronic music, while singing to a background reminiscent of a late ’80s new-wave dance party.
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