How do they keep on knocking out such brilliant songs - 18 more of them on this album out of a total that must now be over a thousand! GREAT tunes, time and time again - then they just let them go whilst other less talented folks would hang onto them and wring them dry. A great feeling of fun and lyrics that no one else could write - and the songwriting and musicianship is quietly superb. No real favourites yet - though Cloisonne made me spurt out my drink in amusement - "I don't want to tell 'em mister"! They've never produced any bad albums but this does seem to be a classic amongst classics. Enhance your quality of life and buy it.
This reminds me of the Barenaked Ladies crossed with Weezer and sprinkled with a bit of the Eels - melodic, catchy pop and just enough lunatic fringe to make it fun ('almost' cheesy in a few places but in a really good way). One of the 'happiest' albums I have listened to for a very long time. If you have a very high end audio system it also sounds absolutely stunning
After the recent kids albums, full of catchy songs, and the band's brilliant gig in London in the summer, I was eagerly awaiting the 'Join Us' CD. The last "adult" album 'The Else' in 2007 was hit and miss for me, but the subsequent 'Here Come the 123s' and 'Here Comes Science' CDs renewed a lot of faith.
'Join Us' gets off to a good start with the extremely catchy 'Can't Keep Johnny Down' and 'You Probably Get That A Lot'. 'Old Pine Box' and 'Canajoharie' are solid too. 'Cloissone' gets off to a good start but the abstract brass section at the end always has me skipping the last 40 seconds of the track.
Unfortunately in my opinion it goes downhill from there. 'Let Your Hair Hang Down' is a weak song that has a theme reminiscent to 'Bangs' on the 'Mink Car' album.
There are 18 songs on the CD, and the last third of the album is only saved by 'Never Knew Love'. 'Spoiler Alert' should have been missed as the staggered lyrics theme has already been tried once (successfully I might add) for 'What Is A Shooting Star' on 'Here Comes Science'. To use the same structure again on the next CD is not good.
As for 'Dog Walker'..... I know TMBG like to write about some interesting and strange stuff, but that one is very off the wall, with strange effects over the vocals.
So overall I'm actually quite disappointed with the CD as a whole. I prefer TMBGs more straightforward "rock song" approach myself, and there is too much experimental stuff going on here that should have been saved for the band's Podcasts or any future "rarities" type CDs.
-------------- EDIT 16th March 2012: OK I've listened to this album quite a bit since I bought it and some of the tracks have taken some getting into. However I now really like When Will You Die, Protagonist, You Don't Like Me... and 2082.
So I really like 9 of the 18 tracks. The others are OK but Let Your Hair Hang Down and Dog Walker are very weak. I've now given the album an extra * and now it's 3/5 for me.