Album Review The Shins - Wincing The Night Away

All the subtleties of ‘Oh, Inverted World’ with the pop panache of ‘Chutes Too Narrow’, The Shins are still making pop look easy.

A slow burn develops in to an indie-pop furnace on the third release from The Shins. While ‘Sleeping Lessons’’ bleeping start might have you worried that Albuquerque’s best-loved have gone all prog rock, ‘Australia’ is the perfect pay-off. This album is quaffing pints of summer.

Single ‘Phantom Limb’ is also a good encapsulation of the album. There’s a haunted quality in James Mercer’s vocals, slightly angsty even, but the ‘woo ooo’ refrain swaggers in just in time. And a Beck-like opening on ‘Sealegs’ is a lovely surprise, as are its lengthy - yes, even a lengthy Shins track - laid-back meanderings.

While at times there’s a slight twinge of ‘wait, have I heard this before?’ - ‘Red Rabbits’ sounds a little too familiar for its own good - ‘Wincing The Night Away’ really does have some crackers.

‘Turn On Me’ rises to the occasion of album highlight in fine fashion. It’s a pacey track where subtle backing vocals mix with one of those bridges that deserves an award for services to being darn catchy. Things then slow down beautifully in the closing stages of the album. ‘Split Needles’ and ‘A Comet Appears’ are ones for those that loved the ubiquitous ‘New Slang’, while ‘Girl Sailor’ returns to the doo wop swirling of the opening tracks.

All the subtleties of ‘Oh, Inverted World’ with the pop panache of ‘Chutes Too Narrow’, The Shins are still making pop look easy. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

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