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Holidayland - EP

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Album Review

Hot on the heels of their Mink Car album and their success with the Malcolm in the Middle theme comes They Might Be Giants' Holidayland EP, which collects the holiday-themed songs that John Linell and John Flansburgh have recorded over the years. Longtime TMBG fans will recognize "Santa's Beard" from Lincoln or Then: The Earlier Years, and the song's quirky-yet-rockin' sound captures the appeal of the group's late-'80s/early-'90s work perfectly. The sweetly spare toy piano and drum machine-based "Feast of Lights" originally appeared on the Chanukah compilation Festival of Light, Vol. 2, while "Careless Santa" comes from Unsupervised, the debut album from Flansburgh's side project Mono Puff. The group's version of "O Tannenbaum" — sung in German, natch — also achieves the blend of braininess and warm fuzzies of TMBG's best work. Unfortunately, the EP's newest track, a cover of the Sonics' "Santa Claus," is also the most unremarkable, but overall Holidayland will please the They Might Be Giants fans who don't already own these fun, festive songs.


Formed: 1983 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Combining a knack for infectious melodies with a quirky sense of humor and a vaguely avant-garde aesthetic borrowed from the New York post-punk underground, They Might Be Giants became an unlikely alternative rock success story as they reinvented themselves throughout their career. Musically, John Flansburgh and John Linnell borrowed from everywhere, but this eclecticism was enhanced by their arcane sensibilities. The duo referenced everything from British Invasion to Tin Pan Alley, while making...
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