Review Summary: It's been almost 30 years. Are these guys out of it yet?
They Might Be Giants are something of legends when it comes to alternative/geek rock music. They've been going strong for almost 30 years now releasing pretty quality stuff nonstop, as well as being scattered all across television and such. Whether it be little songs like the theme song for "Malcolm in the Middle" or their classics like "Birdhouse in Your Soul" you've probably heard something of their's somewhere at sometime.
"Nanobots" is their latest attempt to stay fresh. They've surprisingly been able to keep from getting stale over the years and, while Nanobots is no exception, there's not much that's overly special here.
They were certainly going for a bit of a different formula here. Instead of the quirky tracks like you see on their more popular LP's like "Flood" or "Apollo 18", there sure are a lot of much slower paced pieces on here, and I feel that this is the ultimate downfall of "Nanobots".
I've never had the complaint that too many songs sound alike in the past with TMBG albums, but this one has broken that record. There are several tracks on here that you'll feel like you've heard before. Songs like "Black Ops", and "Tesla" are some of the weakest tracks on the album. "Sometimes a Lonely Way" is a bit guilty of this as well, but it's one of the strongest lyrically on this album so it gets a pass.
Also, saying a track is lyrically strong on this album is certainly saying something. The writing on "Nanobots" is very impressive. It ranges from things that sound very deep such as the aforementioned track, to songs like "9 Secret Steps" that absolutely radiate with that classic They Might Be Giants atmosphere.
While I have complained about the slower songs on the LP, there certainly includes some faster, and very high energy songs. "Circular Karate Chop", "A Stone Cold Coup d'Etat", and "Great" all have very punk rock vibes to them that I really didn't see coming. These are my favorites on this album and are the ones that stand out the most to me.
The title track is also a standout. It's insanely catchy. It got stuck in my head pretty much the second I finished listening to it. "Call You Mom" is also a great track. Somewhat reminiscent of classic spy music (even though the lyrics don't fit that description at all. It doesn't bog down the song at all though)
It should be noted that, track wise, this is the longest TMBG album, having a whopping 25 tracks despite only being around 45 minutes in total. That's because there are several tracks on here that struggle to even reach 10 seconds in length. While they're certainly rather throw away tracks and you may not go back to them often, they're pretty good for what they are. "Hive Mind" is only six seconds, but still manages to have a very catchy guitar riff, while the 15 second long "Decision Makers" is surprisingly epic, and is something I'd probably go back to listen to this rather often.
"Nanobots" is a very mixed bag. There are certainly some parts that you may just trudge through and forget rather quickly, the parts they get right are fantastic and certainly worth a listen, and if it's one thing They Might Be Giants know how to get right, it's being They Might Be Giants.