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THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
Album Title: No!
Producer(s): They Might Be Giants
Genre: CHILDREN'S
Label/Catalog Number: Idlewild/Rounder 11661-8113-2
Source: Online
Originally Reviewed: June 11, 2002


The beauty of "No!" -- They Might Be Giants' first kids/family album -- is that the Brooklyn-based duo neither underestimates the intelligence of children, nor the younger set's propensity to enjoy gloriously unabated goofy fun. With the help of their backing Band of Dans and a handful of friends, Johns Flansburgh and Linnell spin out 17 tracks of "edutainment" that are as enjoyable for adults as they are for kids.

Many tracks will challenge kids to pick up on clever lyrical wrinkles in stories such as the time-challenged "Four of Two" or the arcane lessons of "The Edison Museum." But some, such as the simple call-and-response of "Clap Your Hands" and the nonsense sounds of "Wake Up Call" are just wonderful play-along ditties with infectious beats and melodies.

A varied mix of musical styles keeps the disc continually refreshing, from the blazing funk of "John Lee Supertaster" and layered marching charge of "Bed Bed Bed," to the lethargic ballad "Lazyhead and Sleepybones" and jangly pop of opener "Fibber Island." Daydreaming fantasies such as the kid version of "Robot Parade" and "Where Do They Make Balloons?," as well as the self-explanatory roll-your-eyes title track make "No!" both precious and precocious.

Making the disc more special are interactive animated segments that correspond to nearly every track when used with a PC. For example, a virtual city can be built while taking in the street-crossing lessons of "In the Middle, In the Middle, In the Middle" (charmingly sung by Flansburgh's wife, Robin Goldwasser), or save "The House at the Top of the Tree" from an angry mouse demanding potato chips from your dog. Sound bizarre? It is, but so are kids and their whims, to which TMBG expertly caters.


--Barry A. Jeckell

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