from, you‘ll know how hard it is to describe what they do and how they do it. The Brooklyn duo ofJohn Linnell (vocals. accordion. checked shirt. what-am-I-doing-here‘.’ expression) and John Flansburgh seem to recognise no boundaries to their music. and evade categorisation at every turn.
There are scores of American musical eccentrics. indulging their whims and making quite marvellous records into the bargain. attracting adoring followings. Some are even quite tame compared to the Giants‘ multi-faceted outpourings (and some are called Eugene Chadbourne). but none have the commercial power ofThey Might Be Giants. The presence on four tracks of Flood of noted British producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley seemed a most sympatico match after their extensive work for the ambitious and craftsmanlike Madness. and other well-chosen
groups from within and without the rock mainstream. It hasn‘t harmed them that they ﬂatter their listeners‘ intelligence in the same way as. say. Talking Heads.
Before Flood. their first record for a major label. appeared. their independent releases had built up an audience on campus radio stations — a market courted by all American record companies with even slightly left-of-centre artists on their books. like REM.
Their first release was a self-financed tape which came to the attention ofthe New York
independent label Bar/None in 1986.
which later that year brought out the Giants‘ first. eponymous. album. The college radio play and a
surprising amount ofcomplimentary
column inches in publications like People and The New York Times as well as the rock press meant that by the time their second album. Lincoln. came out. they had the
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clout to oust U2‘s Rattle and Hum from the pole position of American college radio‘s album chart. Flansburgh and Linnell claim that nothing they do has ever been planned. but iftheir procession through the music business has had any continuing theme. it is an avoidance of the obvious. such as the pioneering use ofphone lines in the mid-Eighties for their Dial-a-Song service. which is still running today. It irks the Giants that big stars like Paula Abdul and New Kids on the Block use phone lines as ‘a blatant rip-offof people who obviously adore you‘. To begin with. Flanburgh used his home phone. and naturally was uncontactable for months. Ifyou happen to be dropping by New York. the number is 718-387-6962. Ten-four. They Might Be Giants play The Pavilion. Glasgow. on Thurs 14.
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I Love‘s Young Nightmare: Let ll Boll (While Label Becordings)Thc stark black-and-white pic on the sleeve adds to the feel of the sort ofgroup who might have been described by Smash Hits a dozen years ago as ‘melodic pop with punk energy". Give me agrant and I might be able to pin down the very month when this style was at its zenith. Produced by Martin Rushent too. (AM)
I Kennedy Bose: Love Like This (Pangaea) l’angaea was set up by Sting. as i understand it. as a label for people who were too esoteric to be signed by anyone else. It's disappointing. then. that this turns out to be a very ordinary. stolid even. country-rocker. its principal attraction being the twin vocals of Mary Ann Kennedy and Pam Rose. (AM)
I The Milltown Brothers:
Seemsto Me(Suburban) You can't beat the throbbing of a mighty organ. Thus. 'l‘hc Milltown Brothers pull theirsout togreateffect. teasing and titillating. Seems to me. though. the fun is all a bitpremature. over in a jiffy. adamp squib. Bit like sex. really. Isn't it‘.’(('.\1cl.)
I Kitchens of Distinction: Ouick as Rainbows (One Little Indian) Not being included on the album Love is Hell makes this single essential already. The fact that it distilsthe Kitchens‘ essence into one perfectly formed droplet. and comes with three live tracks on the B-sidc. makes it even more so. Sure-footed stull from one of the best independent bands around. (A M)
I Foetus Inc: Butterﬂy Potion (Big Cat) l’oeltts's Hole was a constant companion in 1984. but subsequent output dashed myexpectations tothe point that a new release from the l'octus monster was not even lifted out oi the browsers. let alone listened to. ‘Butterlly
l’otion' has confirmed my suspicion that there isn't much barrel left to be scraped. How was it for you. Muriel" ( .-\.\1)
I Little Ceasar: The Whole oi the Moon (A1) Yes. indeed. a dance version ol IiTL‘ epic \\';liL‘ii‘t)\\ sting While marching to a different drum. It's managed to retain much oftheorlginal's lccl i'ans of’i'ltc \Vatcrlioys w ill probably hate ll. lansot Watcrboys mnex might lchquitcdiltcrcntly
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