They Might Be Giants – Nanobots
For They Might Be Giants, conciseness has always been an asset, allowing them to play freely with oddball concepts and simple melodies without allowing their irreverent earworms to outstay their welcome. But Nanobots’ nano-pop arguably takes the trait a little too far, squeezing 25 songs into 48 minutes – including a second-half run of four tracks totalling just 48 seconds, each little more than a witty one-liner and an orphaned melody fragment.
Again, this isn’t new territory for the band, with Apollo 18’s Fingerprints suite the most obvious precursor. But where previously the effect charmed, here it’s a little like channel hopping – distracting and eventually annoying. Luckily, several of the fully-formed offerings – including infectious opener You’re On Fire, affectionate ode-to-science Tesla and the peppy title track – rank among their best work, making this a treat for fans, albeit one that dilutes their comedic and musical genius with a few too many cul-de-sacs. [Chris Buckle]