Wednesday, December 26, 2012

They Might Be Giants 6: Why Does The Sun Shine?

TMBG aren’t just geek musicians—they’re actual geeks. This would have become more apparent given the “Mammal” science lesson on their last album, and it was taken to a further extreme on an EP presenting three cover songs and one original.
While it shares the EP title Why Does The Sun Shine?, the lead track is better known by the subtitle “The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas”. The song is instantly memorable and so quirky, it’s hard to believe it existed decades before the band did. Another trip through the past is “Jessica”, the Allman Brothers song here taken at a slightly slower speed, presumably so the guitar can best double the accordion, and kept to about a third of the original’s seven-minute length. “Whirlpool” was a recent track by the Meat Puppets, the proto-grunge band about to be championed by Kurt Cobain, delivered in a horn arrangement. Finally, “Spy” is a TMBG composition, heavy on the horns again with a full band backing.
At only ten minutes, Why Does The Sun Shine? may seem slight, but it was only ever considered a single, and should be priced accordingly. It’s still a lot of fun, and a nice bookend to the first four albums. If you’re a fan, you need it. (Though you probably already have it.)

They Might Be Giants Why Does The Sun Shine? (1993)—

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