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Why Does the Sun Shine - EP

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Album Review

For being the record that introduced fans of They Might Be Giants to the full-band sound/style/lineup, Why Does the Sun Shine? is curiously slight. The title track is a minimalist take on an obscure ditty from a 1959 children's album. Featuring the Johns playing only a vibraphone and an accordion, it's mildly educational, a little dull, but full of earnest. They Might Be Giants' remake of the Allman Brothers' instrumental classic "Jessica" differs only subtly from its original 1972 recording; a more esoteric song from the Meat Puppets, "Whirlpool," is much more suited to the band's eccentric tendencies. Only eight minutes after the CD spins up, it closes out with the only real new They Might Be Giants tune. "Spy" is the highlight of the EP, truly implementing the new cast of musicians and making ample use of the horn section. The sound is a throwback to those old Connery-era 007 themes, but the hook is huge, sexy, and campy enough to justify sitting through (for those who have time to sit) the rest of this abbreviated album.


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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