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. (Listens.) 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
Both Sides of the Mouth is a dual-authored mp3 blog based in Austin, Texas. All audio posted on this site is meant for sampling purposes only. If you really like what you hear, show it and support the artist - buy an album, buy some merch. If you represent or own any media on this site and would like something taken down please email us, and we will take the neccessary action of removing the file(s).