Saturday, August 2, 2008


Oh, Inverted World-
The Shins
Status-Out as of 2001
Label-Sub Pop
Rating-3.5 Feathers

When singer/guitarist James Mercer decided to do something different from his former band Flake Music, and other members from Flake Music followed, that something became The Shins. Coming from Albuquerque, New Mexico, The Shins created one of the best known indie albums, to me, ever. This debut 'Oh, Inverted World' has an extremely youthful feel, even though the members age from late 20's to mid 30's. 'Caring is Creepy' is a fantastic lead off into this album. The vocals are jolly, the drums are dark, and the guitar is mellow: can you pick a better combination? 'One By One All Day' is alright. The vocals are quite a bore for the fact that it's the whole band singing at the same time and the vocals sound very monotone. The song doesn't really stick in your mind at all except for how generally stupid it sounds. 'Weird Divide' has a calm Hawaiian feel. It's okay, I mean, not really my favourite. It's a tad to airy for my liking. It's definitely a weird divide between 'One By One All Day' and 'Know Your Onion!'. Opposed to the lyrics, this memory doesn't please me. 'Know Your Onion!' is definitely the quintessential Shins song. The twangy guitar intro draws you in and the poppy backing vocals make you die for more. The lines like 'What kind of life you dream of? You're allergic to love' help tell a story of a 'pimpled and angry' adolescent leaving home. It's a definitely one of the best youth anthems. 'Girl Inform Me' has one catchy vocal pattern. Just the sound of the vocals alone is the major hook of the song. It sounds like it'd be used in a TV show during a significant scene between two characters. 'New Slang (When You Notice the Stripes)': Words can't properly describe it. As Natalie Portman said in Garden State 'You gotta hear this one song; it'll change your life' and, my friends, that it did. It's so beautifully poignant that it's enough to move you to tears. Man, just writing about it is making me tear up. With lines like 'Never should have called, but my head's to the wall and I'm lonely' and 'I'm looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find' make you think these guys are geniuses. 'The Celibate Life' at first sounds like a deranged Beatles song. Though, compared to New Slang, it's a little weak. They do that vocal thing that they did in 'One By One All Day' that just kills it and makes it a dull. 'Girl on the Wing' really packs a punch when it comes in as in it comes out of nowhere. The vocals, like 'The Celibate Life' are extremely uneventful. The computerized beeps are the only thing that truly adds to the song. 'Your Algebra' is flat out creepy. It's so spacey and haunting that it kind of freaks you out, but in a good way. The sounds of little kids giggling at the end are real bizarre. It's one of the 'finer points' of the album. 'Pressed in a Book' is better than some of the other songs on the album. The sound of the guitar at the beginning makes a nice changeover from the last song. The vocals excellent but the rest of the instruments create generic non-effective hooks that keep the song from being memorable. 'The Past and Pending' has a light acoustic guitar that makes for a good ending to a respectable album. The distant horn makes it very melancholy, which truly adds to it. The only problem with this song is that the ending drags out a minute too long. In a decade that will see a destruction of even the most basic pop-music, The Shins will be there with an unadulterated sound that will never cease to perform. Though some of the songs need a bit of work (and more explosion), this a sound record and a sound band with a very positive future.

"If someone is articulately trying to express their point of views on something it's worth hearing."-James Mercer

Video For Know Your Onion!

The Shins Official Website
NOTE: Sorry for my hiatus, I didn't really feel like posting er anything so I hope this review is worthwhile. I will be posting atleast 3 more reviews within the next few days so keep posted and comment! Also, don't you love the blue youtubebar to match the album cover? Thank you!


PoliticianRock said...

This is how I feel about the album, too. Not excellent, but still good. I don't know if their other albums ever exceeded what they did here, but each one has specific cuts that are great.

Double Hawk said...

Politicain:I completely agree. I haven't listened to Chutes Too Narrow, but Wincing the Night Away still doesn't surpass this.

Lily Hydrangea said...

yeah, I like being freaked out... but in a good way!
Have I mentioned that your reviews are so insightful that after reading them, I just want to get the CD so I can compare each song to your ideas about them? Once again, very intriguing DH.

Lily Hydrangea said...

cool banner too!!!

Double Hawk said...

Lily-I'm glad that the reviews affect you that much. Being freaked out in a good way is always good!