Monday, October 30, 2006

Most dangerous my ass!

Hey kids!

I am happy to report that Richmond is no longer in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S. And we almost made it out of the top 15! And we're not even the highest Richmond on the list. Richmond, CA pulls in at #11. Take that you hippies!!

More on the new Shins album.
Brad, I am convinced that you did indeed get a different copy of the album than I did, because I can't see how you don't think this thing is the shit. Granted, there was no way they were gonna make a better pop album than Chutes Too Narrow. That album stands as one of the crowning achievements in music over the past ten years. It is impeccable.
Wincing the Night Away, however, is lush, adventurous, playful, and genuine. It is just different enough from the first two albums to matter and just similar enough to invite you in. So now, indulge me my readers, for I am going to make the case for the album. If you're not Brad I give you permission to skip this section.

1. "Sleeping Lessons" - As cool of an opening track as one could ask for (sorry about the preposition ender, but I'm feeling gramatically lazy today). Granted, it has a lot of production sheen on top of it, but it works with the song. It's a gradual builder, and they never compromise the pace of the song for the sake of the production. The vocals get a little lost during the climax of the song, but it kind of adds something to the song. It makes you work to understand the lyrics.
2. "Australia" - As strong a song as I've heard from The Shins, or any band for that matter. It reminds me of "Saint Simon," which I thought was the best track off of Chutes. The production is fantastic, the banjo is inspired, and James Mercer's vocal performance is perfect.
3. "Pam Berry" - Terrible and unnecessary. F.
4. "Phantom Limb" - Much more reminiscent of the first album, with its meandering vocals and understated guitar. It's nice and lilting, a great way to recover after Pam Berry. And you can't fuck with that "Whoa-oh" bridge.
5. "Sea Legs" - Starts off great with a nice, percussive guitar line. And then the flutey synth comes in. I'm in heaven. What's not to love? It loses itself towards the end but doesn't drop the ball completely. The synth canoodling does get a bit tiresome though.
6. "Red Rabbits" - "The Past and Pending," Part II. Not the best track on the album, but certainly up to snuff. Typically introspective yet mysterious lyrics. Easy pacing. Xylophones. Yup, it's a Shins song.
7. "Turn on Me" - Not to be confused with "Take On Me". This is a great song, very reminiscent of "Mine's Not a High Horse". Tight, rollicking, and catchy as hell.
8. "Black Wave" - Boring and unnecessary. A little hiccup in the flow.
9. "Split Needles" - My vote for best track on the album. Perfect interplay between guitar and keyboards. Wonderful vocal performance. Tight rhythm section. The "Pink Bullets" of this album.
10. "Girl Sailor" - A good, middle-of-the-road track. Nice way to segue between the two stronger tracks on either side of it without being showy about it.
11. "A Comet Appears" - Simply beautiful. If you doubted the presence of melody, this song's got enough for an entire album.

So that's my analysis. It does have a couple of weak tracks, but overall it's an outstandingly strong album for a group that had to follow Chutes Too Narrow. Well done.


And now, the first in a line of advertising slogans using the names of my readers that I will post in the coming days. If I have left you out, let me know!

7 Comments:

Anonymous Ted said...

if you like it so much, why dont you marry it?
Seriously though, it rocks. I'm in your camp on this on

4:26 PM  
Anonymous becca said...

Update - Brad

1:00 AM  
Anonymous kyle said...

that's some seriously professional photoshop work there

10:00 AM  
Blogger Nat said...

All you need is MS Paint...

10:41 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

I've listened to it approximately ten times now (seriously), and my opinion has softened somewhat but not much.

Phantom Limb is incredible. It's the reason I've heard the album ten times, I want to hear that song then listen to the rest.

Split Needles is also masterful. Dark, dangerous, love it.

The rest sucks. With no exceptions. Sea Legs has moments but then it ruins them. The track that gave you such a boner, Australia, actually sounds like a really bad late-era Guster song to me, just with more unnecessary instrumentation.

That is all.

9:14 PM  
Blogger cliff said...

I award you no points.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous becca said...

way to go nat!

3:13 PM  

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