3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding sun blessed indie pop,
This review is from: Wincing The Night Away (Audio CD)
I first came across the magical Shins a few years ago with their impressive debut Oh, Inverted World. At first listen, Oh, Inverted World was a curious but intoxicating affair that combined beautiful Brian Wilson pop with dreamy and slightly inaccessible experimentation. After a few listens the pop tunes become things to be clasped close to your heart and the dreamy experiments became secret gardens to explore time and again.
The Shins have completed two albums since then, and Wincing the Night Away is more of the same, if musically even tighter than before. Again, the Shins are capable of creating upbeat yet painfully beautiful pop songs that clearly echo the Beach Boys circa Pet Sounds and Smile. Just listen to the perfectly crafted "Phantom Limb" and "Australia" among others. But the Shins also have a more elegiac, dreamy sound that sits perfectly with long hazy summer afternoons. These little coves are definitely worth exploring and give the album greater depth and listening longevity. The delicate yet eccentric "Red Rabbits" is a perfect example of this quality.
James Mercer sings and sounds like Brian Wilson, and manages to get away with it because of the aching beauty of his creations. The Shins create songs with the same unpredictability and intelligence as the Beach Boys (and others such as Prefab Sprout) yet they are not imitators. Lyrically the Shins can be obscure, but amidst the eccentricity, there is always a carefully woven melody to offset the madness. Just when the Shins are asking you to think a little, they provide you with a hook that seems to fill you with joy.
This album will make you smile and probably make you wonder what you would have done if you had never encountered a band of such bewitching quality.