Picks and Pans Review: Then: the Earlier Years
This retrospective is a testament to what two guys (John Flansburgh and John Linnell) with a warped sense of humor, a gift for melody, plus some cheap synths and drum machines can achieve. The packed (72 tracks) two-CD set collects the Giants' first two complete albums plus a dozen or so EP cuts.
It's debatable whether fans who already have this material will want Then for the previously unheard skits, demos and half-developed songs. But for the uninitiated, this set is a great introduction to the duo's homemade brand of alternative music: funny, surreal and occasionally unsettling lyrics set to a twisted mix of rock, polkas and pseudo jazz. (Restless)