The latter half of the album is better than the first, for sure. 'When Will You Die' marks the death of the first section with a fantastically dark song about rejoicing because of someone's passing, and another of the better numbers comes into play. 'Protagonist', with it's finger-snapping beat and chill melody feels very bar band, with a distinctive difference between singer and backing vocals. 'Judy Is Your Viet Nam' is a lot harder in it's delivery, but it's lyrics are once again, very unique to TMBG. After the wistfully soft 'Never Knew Love' comes 'The Lady And The Tiger', a song introduced by whistle-backed rap/talking? The atmosphere around this particular track is deep and moody, which contrasts nicely with the others. One of the best examples of the band's quirky lyricism is also here, with "Do you surmise it’s wise to have laser beams emitting from your eyes?". I know. But the weirdest is yet to come. For some, the vocals and electronic experimentation on 'Dog Walker' will be off-putting, but for me they're the most hilarious part of the record! They also highlight TMBG's ability to actually do something instrumentally that sounds somewhat unique, an element I long to see more of from the band in general.
Overall, I'm not going to deny that I didn't enjoy this record, but there are a few things that didn't appeal to me. Firstly, the generic song structure. Sure, some songs threw in a bit of much-needed experimentation, but as a whole I wanted them to sound more unique, rather than simply replay unique lyricism. That's a problem I've always had with They Might Be Giants, but still, it's a qualm I had with 'Join Us'. Their sense of fun and colour and strength also faltered on this particular effort in my opinion, and if I could, I would try to steer the band clear of the path to maturity. I'll certainly check out their next release, but I won't be returning to this latest one very often. I guess it's just not my cup of tea.
'When Will You Die'