On Disc: The Shins

Album: Wincing the Night Away

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Wincing the Night Away by The Shins

The Shins
Wincing the Night Away
Sub Pop Records

3 stars

Five years after releasing Chutes Too Narrow, The Shins have returned. The band’s latest album, Wincing the Night Away, offers a mature mix of songs that shy away from the band’s signature sound.

The band’s signature simple tracks like “New Slang” and the folksy “Young Pilgrims” have been replaced by synth-heavy songs like “Black Wave” and “Split Needles.”

Lead singer James Mercer’s echoing staircase melodies are still prevalent on the haunting “Black Wave,” which combines acoustic guitar and panned electronic sounds.

By avoiding creating another Chutes Too Narrow, the band creates a compilation of random tracks. “Sea Legs” features a poppy R&B stop-time beat which sounds like a bad combination of Avril Lavigne and BBMak.

In Garden State, Natalie Portman claims The Shins will “change your life.” However, while “Turn on Me” and “Girl Sailor” will make fans nostalgic, Wincing the Night Away isn’t a life-altering album.

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