TMBG Countdown #24: Spiraling Shape

April 7, 2015 Pop Culture, Reviews Comments (0) 1054

First Release: Factory Showroom, 1996

(This is an ongoing countdown that will be updated through April. Click here for the full list.)

Factory Showroom arrived during a difficult time for They Might Be Giants and their fans, as the band was struggling to work with a label (Elektra) with which they frequently disagreed, and which didn’t seem to know how to market them. The first studio follow-up to John Henry, the band’s first with a full band and my personal favorite record, some see Factory Showroom as a return to the band’s earlier sound–but while John Flansburgh has said this is his favorite of the band’s many records, personally it is my least favorite.

That’s not to say the album is without its successes, and “Spiraling Shape” is a great song, combining a rollicking and fun melody with typically clever lyrics–the band says the song is about “the fervent embrace and then abandonment of a cultural bubble”–and, of course, vibraphone solos.

Bonus points for inclusion in the highly underrated 1996 Kids in the Hall movie, Brain Candy–and later in the TV series Malcolm in the Middle, for which TMBG wrote the theme song and much of the incidental music.

Alex says: This falls squarely into that mid-90’s cookie cutter TMBG template, but it’s so catchy and fun.

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