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Working Undercover for the Man

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Album Review

An inauspicious mp3 exclusive EP (although a limited number of real CDs were pressed and mailed to buyers in 2000), Working Undercover for the Man seems to be either a taster for the LP Mink Car or a promo plug for's TMBG radio or both. Or maybe neither. These tracks aren't the best answer to fans' questions about the band's uncharacteristicly scant output from 1997-2000. "Boss of Me," the first TMBG hit in eight years and the theme song to Fox's Malcom in the Middle, isn't here. Nor is the Austin Powers 2 track "Dr. Evil." As it would happen, "Working Undercover for the Man" did feature on 2001's Mink Car, but the track is hardly strong enough to stand as a first single. Most of the tunes on the EP could be described as club rock. It's fairly straightforward guitar-oriented rock & roll, but with a hint of subversiveness and an eccentric display of chord theory. Still, "Robot Parade" is the only song to do justice to the musical mind's eye of classic TMBG. The radio promos are superfluous.


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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