Wincing the Night Away

Their past albums were great and heavily featured (Garden State, anyone?), but The Shins' latest album, Wincing the Night Away, clearly takes the cake. Every one of the eleven tracks is beautifully crafted, in every aspect. Lyrics are as story-like and poignant as ever, James Mercer seems to have developed a subtle edge to his voice, and instrumentals simply shine, far more than in the past, Oh, Inverted World inclusive.

Not only is
Wincing the Night Away better than The Shins' albums of the yesteryears, but it is also the most musically adventurous. "Sleeping Lessons," the grand opener, begins with an ongoing electronica line -- completely unexpected, yet also wholly enjoyed (about 2/3 in, the full band crashes in... it's basically a perfect song). Their fifth track, "Sea Legs," actually has a
beat that some brave soul could attempt to rap to. Mixed in are Verve "Beautiful Symphony"-esque violins, another pleasantly surprising anomaly in The Shins' music. Of course, The Shins are still the Shins, and they prove recognizable in their latest work. Gentle, classic songs like "Turn On Me" bring us back to Chutes Too Narrow, reminding us why we fell in love with them in the first place. Have no fear -- their low gain, lightly distorted electric guitar is still alive and well, along with their winding, sing-along melodies.

If you're one of those few poor souls that is late getting on this long-driving bandwagon,
Wincing the Night Away is the perfect album to start getting into The Shins...

YOU. What are you listening to?

ME. The Shins, you heard of them?

YOU. (
Shakes head.)
ME. You have to listen to this... it'll change your life...

YOU. (
ME. (
Smiles goofily.)

Upcoming Tour Dates (most with Viva Voce):

Feb. 8
First Ave. Minneapolis, MN
Feb. 9
The Eagles Club Milwaukee, WI
Feb. 9
The Rave Milwaukee, WI
Feb. 10
Congress Theatre Chicago, IL
Feb. 11
The Pageant St. Louis, MO
Feb. 12
Liberty Hall Lawrence, KS
Feb. 13
Liberty Hall Lawrence, KS
Feb. 15
Fillmore Auditorium Denver, CO
Feb. 16
In The Venue Salt Lake City, UT
Feb. 17
Egyptian Theater Boise, ID
Feb. 19
Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, BC
Feb. 20
Paramount Theatre Seattle, WA
Feb. 21
Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR
Feb. 25
Astoria London
Apr. 14
Gibson Amphitheatre Universal City, CA

Sleeping Lessons
mp3 Sea Legs
mp3 Turn On Me

The Shins' Official site
The Shins' Myspace (the whole album is on it)

It's really quite scary how much I've taken to this album. It's got such an epic vibe to it, y'know? I also just reviewed it...lemme know what you think!

Anonymous Britt said...
I ventured here from you Bloggies nomination (congrats) and as soon as I saw the Wincing album cover, you won my vote.

I'm sure this will change by tomorrow, but Australia is my current fav.

Blogger Meredith said...
Hey, I stumbled on your blog from the Bloggies site, and I'm really enjoying it.

I reviewed "Wincing the Night Away" for my college's daily newspaper, and I, too, loved it. I think what The Shins had was good, and that they haven't reached where they're headed on this album, but that whatever's lying at the end point is going to be fabulous. So that's my two cents.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
you missed a very important tour date on March 7...

at the Backyard...

Shadid and I are going, you need to come to