Tuesday, August 24, 2021

They Might Be Giants 9: Severe Tire Damage

For years, They Might Be Giants worked just as hard at presenting a unique live show as they did crafting their songs in the first place. Now between labels, they took the opportunity to compile their first full-length album from various concerts and field recordings of a sort.
On Severe Tire Damage, familiar songs are largely revamped with the horn and rhythm sections they incorporated throughout the ‘90s. The most radical change is with their punk re-arrangement of “Why Does The Sun Shine?”, but “Meet James Ensor” is delivered by just voices and accordion. “They Got Lost” and “First Kiss” are early versions of songs to be rerecorded, and three new studio tracks bookend the main program—the horn-driven “Doctor Worm”, the even goofier “Severe Tire Damage Theme”, and the shockingly brief “About Me”. Being the wacky guys they were, the program ends with a series of hidden tracks, all supposedly improvised with nonsensical lyrics spoofing the various titles in the Planet Of The Apes film franchise.
There’s always something of an inside-joke cachet to TMBG, and perhaps Severe Tire Damage is a case of “you had to be there.” But it’s still fun, and that’s where the boys excel.

They Might Be Giants Severe Tire Damage (1998)—3

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