They Might Be Giants 

The Else

The cover art of The Else is confrontational: Mishapen, mouthless animal masks cover the heads of two figures standing in a leafless winter forest. The album itself is confrontational at first blush as well, though dense and frenetic where the album art is sparse and static.

“With The Dark” skips from horns and driving guitar to a harpsichord interlude in which an Ike Willis imitator intones, “I’m getting tired of all my nautical themes / Bustin’ my pirate hump / Rockin’ my peg-leg stump / My mind naturally turns to taxidermy.” If what’s natural about that turn eludes you, the absurdity of The Else might overwhelm you. But if you delight in verbal dexterity displayed with gymnastic enthusiasm, The Else will involve you with songs like “Climbing the Walls,” which—with peppy verve—relates “I was grinding my teeth / I was wasting my youth / And using up my teeth…It got so bad I quit my job / And I got a new job / Climbing the walls.”

Flush with wit and intriguing instrumentation, this 12th release from the Brooklyn nerd stars splices a mass of insightful lyrical oddities into something far too weird to be such easy listening.

They Might Be Giants play the University Center Ballroom Sunday, Sept. 23, at 8 PM. $23 plus fees.
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