Featuring John Flansburgh's twisted offshoot of the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," this EP focuses on a similar story, albeit this time around a surfing competition decides Satan's uncertain fate. In truth, the record's title track, presented in two different (though similar) versions, is actually the EP's weakest link. Rounding things out, as well as making the album worthwhile, are the two extra tracks, each of which are at least as good as anything Flansburgh has done during his time in They Might Be Giants. First off is a terrific rendition of Frank Black's "Oddball," complete with all of the rock and lyrical nuances of the Black original. Rounding out the collection is "Tryptophane," a tribute to the sleep-inducing drug found in turkey, which is presented in the stripped-down style in which it first debuted on TMBG's long standing Dial-a-Song service. The two extra tracks will certainly appeal to diehard fans, but for those looking for a sense of what Mono Puff is all about, The Devil Went Down to Newport doesn't really succeed in showcasing the group's noteworthy penchant for stylistic variance.
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AllMusic Review by Peter J. D'Angelo