• Record Label: Zoe
  • Release Date: Jul 13, 2004
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 2 out of 16

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  1. IS
    Jul 24, 2004
    10
    love it. things rarely get any better
  2. RoryK
    Jul 17, 2004
    9
    Top notch album: Somewhere, for me, a cross between Mink Car and John Henry, with a dash of Lincoln. BUY IT! Most folks (and predominantly, music critics) fall into three categories: *Those that think TMBG is too mainstream and needs to be wackier; *Those who don't get the band, feel they're still too wacky, and wish they'd stop, *Those who get them, and can appraise their Top notch album: Somewhere, for me, a cross between Mink Car and John Henry, with a dash of Lincoln. BUY IT! Most folks (and predominantly, music critics) fall into three categories: *Those that think TMBG is too mainstream and needs to be wackier; *Those who don't get the band, feel they're still too wacky, and wish they'd stop, *Those who get them, and can appraise their albums objectively. TMBG is what it is: two singular musical voices, working together to do their own thing; talented, thoughtful, and know full well there's a sea of mediocrity out there. They're an island, a life preserver, a buoy, a lighthouse. Critics can dislike their work till the cows come home; the shame is that a majority of them will drive away several folks unexpected to their work that may very well appreciate them. Expand
  3. WesleyM
    Apr 10, 2006
    9
    Agreed with Chuckie Mustdie. A strong, consistent effort that brings us several of TMBG's best since John Henry.
  4. chuckiemustdie
    Jul 18, 2004
    9
    Take no notice of the clueless Grauniad journalist. He should run away before I find him...
  5. CoryC
    Jul 14, 2004
    9
    Any critic (or non-critic, for that matter) that reviews TMBG should at least have some appreciation for them to start with; it's akin to asking a guy who hates blues to review a Ray Charles retrospective. And, sadly, many critics have never got (or cared to get) TMBG. And of course, not all TMBG admirers will dole out high praise for all their work, which is fair. That said, this is Any critic (or non-critic, for that matter) that reviews TMBG should at least have some appreciation for them to start with; it's akin to asking a guy who hates blues to review a Ray Charles retrospective. And, sadly, many critics have never got (or cared to get) TMBG. And of course, not all TMBG admirers will dole out high praise for all their work, which is fair. That said, this is a great album. I'm a discerning TMBG fan, who feels they've "grown" in musical depth (me: taste; Them: range of style). And while some see much of their work painfully obscure, preciously self-aware, or bordering on parody, those who know the Johns are for real know that they're CELEBRATING diverse styles and cleverness, not opting to mock it. From the kicking-off power-pop of "Experimental Film," to the mind-bending "Wearing a Raincoat," to the foot-stomping rock of "It's Kickin' In" and "Damn Good Times" (and all the other odd gems, namely "Bastard Wants to Hit Me" and "Stalk of Wheat).... well, I'm not the first to praise their high longevity-to-consistency of quality ratio, and I won't be the last. As for the reasoning behind releasing the accompanying EPs: This isn't a new move by any means. They've done this for years, and they've been particular when assembling a selection of songs for an album. And "The Spine" is by for the most "theme" album they've ever put out. Pity be to those who don't get them and never will. It's great over here on the other side. Expand
  6. brian
    Jul 27, 2004
    9
    It is hard to say which TMBG album is the best, because it seems like everytime I pick one, I rediscover another and find something new I like about it. The Spine will undoubtedly be the same way. There are no truly great songs, in the vein of "Birdhouse", "Ana Ng" or "Dead", but from top to bottom the disc is very listenable and re-listenable. If I had to pick one "great" song It is hard to say which TMBG album is the best, because it seems like everytime I pick one, I rediscover another and find something new I like about it. The Spine will undoubtedly be the same way. There are no truly great songs, in the vein of "Birdhouse", "Ana Ng" or "Dead", but from top to bottom the disc is very listenable and re-listenable. If I had to pick one "great" song Thunderbird is one alot of people may not appreciate. "Before you fall, you have to learn to crawl..You can't see heaven when you are standing tall.. to get the whole sky, on the ground you have to lie." That line and the entire song typifies TMBG's ironic songstyling. The song is also a very funny homage/lament about Thunderbird wine. As usual, most of the album is catchy, fun and infused with wit and humor only found in TMBG material. Expand
  7. MattS
    Aug 12, 2004
    8
    The best CD the Johns have put out since John Henry, The Spine features some fantastic tracks that, I believe, will become classics.
  8. Sean
    Dec 7, 2005
    8
    I thought it was awesome 'til I bought "Flood." Now I know better. It's still a-pretty-pretty-good. Ignore John M and that reviewer from The Guardian. Hell, "Birdhouse in Your Soul" was a top 10 hit in the UK (number 6 if I'm not mistaken), so I think he's one of the very few Brits who don't get TMBG.
  9. Morvit
    Jul 12, 2004
    8
    This is definately not their best album, not it's not their worst either. It's sorta in between. They are trying out new patterns of music. It might not sound like other TMBG albums, but it's still petty good in my ear.
  10. GerwinK
    Jul 8, 2005
    7
    Now this is more like it. Cant wait until they come with more off this, but then even better.
  11. rw
    Jul 13, 2004
    7
    I like the songs, but way too short. 36 minutes!? Plus they released 2 EPs surrounding this full length. Obviously enough material--smacks of greed. I hope I'm wrong.
  12. JohnM
    Sep 8, 2004
    3
    This has got to be TMBG's worst effort. It's not worth owning legitimately. Of course they are entitled to one dud compared to all of the quality material they have created in the past.
  13. JasonF
    Jul 19, 2007
    2
    Museum of Idiots is an excellent song but the rest of the album isn't up to their usual high standard. I really wanted to like this album, but ultimately I think the song writing on this one was weak.
Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. 82
    Each song on The Spine is characteristically intelligent, observant, and poppy as all hell. [#11, p.94]
  2. 60
    Nothing on The Spine drills into your cerebral cortex and demands to be whistled on public transport like earlier hits, but the tunes are agreeable enough. [Aug 2004, p.99]
  3. Every now and again they hit on a promising musical idea, then ruin it.