Picks and Pans Review: John Henry
If this rock thing doesn't work out for They Might Be Giants, the band might want to consider a future in advertising. This alternative-rock group's music is deliberately jingle ready; any burger joint would be crazy not to use them for commercials. Each tune is a pop nugget so catchy, your subconscious keeps humming it all the way to the checkout aisle. No wonder the first song on the disc is called "Subliminal."
This is the liveliest the band has ever sounded, with original Giants John Linnell and John Flansburgh adding four new members and a soulful horn section to give the music more heart. What makes the group as intriguing as ever, though, is the way its mainstream sound plays off lyrics that could pass for beat poetry: "As I got hit by a car there was a message for me/ As I went through the windshield I noticed something/Subliminal." This successful blend of mass-appeal music and eclectic wordplay makes anything the Giants are selling certainly worth buying. (Elektra)