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They Might Be Giants: Here Comes Science

B+

They Might Be Giants

Album: Here Comes Science
Label: Disney

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When They Might Be Giants recorded their first children’s album, 2002’s No!, their approach to the genre largely amounted to simplifying their catchy, clever music—perhaps too much. The two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) have since learned a lot more about how to entertain kids and their parents, largely by realizing that they don’t need to make their songs any less ambitious. The new CD/DVD Here Comes Science is a natural follow-up to the band’s tour of the alphabet and mathematics, and like its predecessors, it’s best experienced visually. (Only on the DVD will you see the Johns rendered in the style of old Bell Labs cartoons, or as 8-bit videogame characters.) But the songs work fine on their own, too, whether the Giants are following a rocked-up version of the old chestnut “Why Does The Sun Shine?” with a funkier, more scientifically accurate update, or whether they’re delivering facts about the circulatory system via a ditty that rivals the best of Schoolhouse Rock. The music on Here Comes Science is by and large a little less off-the-wall and casually profound than those on Here Come The 123s, but there’s still something cheering about hearing kid-friendly songs that promote evolution, or one that notes how much of living matter can be reduced to a few common elements. These are lessons in reason and brotherhood that even grown-ups should learn and sing.