Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Wincing the Night Away-
The Shins
Status-Out as of 2007
Label-Sub Pop
3rd Studio Album
Rating-3 Feathers

With their roots in Albuquerque, New Mexico and two hit albums under their belt, (‘Oh, Inverted World’ and ‘Chutes Too Narrow’), it’s only telling that their third album be a great addition to such a collection. For any Shins fan, ‘Wincing The Night Away’ does not disappoint. ‘Sleeping Lessons’ starts the album with a very spacey keyboard, which follows the vocals. About half way through, the song reaches a sort of exhilaration unlike the beginning. This song is about opening yourself up, which to me, helps make it a fantastic lead off. ‘Australia’ greets us with someone shouting in a seemingly heavy German accent. This is definitely one catchy number. The subtle use of a ukulele is very effective. ‘Pam Berry’ is very short, almost a filler sort of song, that is extremely electronica. In ‘Phantom Limb’, the bass is very electronic allowing for a blend between it and ‘Pam berry’. The general sound of it is similar to that of ‘Australia’ but it’s mellower. The general sound of it gives me a wrenching headache for some reason and they really could’ve made it shorter. ‘Sea Legs’ has an annoyingly hip-hop sounding drum and bass track with a random flute and string section in the background. I’m flat out bothered by it. I really can’t stand a non-varying bass and drum line. It’s definitely not my favourite song, at all. ‘Red Rabbits’ starts with an airy but poppy sounding instrument that backs the vocals. This song shows James Mercer’s ability to sing to softer sort of song. The main problem with it though, is it’s just a bit too long. ‘Turn On Me’ is my favourite song on the album. If you like basic pop/rock songs you’ll be sure to like this song. The drums are simple but perfect. I find it cheesy how in the chorus he has to say ‘fond of y-o-u’. I find the whole spelling things out deal kind of stupid. ‘Black Wave’ is much different from the last song. I never realized how dark an acoustic guitar can sound on it’s own and how effective it is in doing so. Unlike the lyrics, you are not ‘looking on the brightest side', but you’re still bound to love it. ‘Spilt Needles’ is certainly not the best, although the beginning oddness sucks you in. The vocals create such irresistible hooks that help create a sound different from the other songs. ‘Girl Sailor’ starts out nice, but you quickly realize there is virtually no variation. Though pleasantly calm, it gets pretty boring. If you listened to it all the way through, ‘you made it through the direst of straits’. ‘Comet Appears’ at first sounds like a hopeful version of ‘Black Wave’ equipped with a slide guitar. It’s extremely dreamlike which I think is a good, composed way to end a record. The problems that present themselves in this album are that it sounds like too many new influences are being crammed into one record which makes it very uneven, and sometimes, very distasteful. The other problem is that more than half the songs seem to drag on forever, and ever. As songs on their own, most of them are really good, but as a collection, it’s very unappealing. Compared to the first two albums, this record is much more mature, but not necessarily better.

"There was a long while where I was struggling to get the lyrics. It was blood from a stone for a while." –James Mercer

Video for Australia

The Shins Official Website
Note: I'm sorry for not posting much reviews recently. I've been doing alot of listening but I haven't gotten around to writing the actual review so within the next week I'll have atleast 3 new reviews. I reviewed The Shins first album awhile ago so check that out. I didn't review their second album because I don't want to buy it, it's as simple as that. I'm going to post a rating guide soon so you understand how I rate CD's and stuff. Please keep posted and comment! Thank you everyone!


Arnold Layne said...

Sleeping Lessons is by far my favorite song on the album, and I LOVE the music video for Australia. Sweet review - like always.

Double Hawk said...

Geez, I'm glad someone noticed I put something up. Yes, I love the video for Australia too, it has to be the bush! Sleeping Lessons is just one of those songs, you know?

lisak said...

I really like the Shins - the more I listen the more I like, even in this Dead Kennedys mood I have been in. I really enjoyed the video.
I love your ratings guide - you rock Dblhwk!

Double Hawk said...

Lisak: Yeah, I really like the Shins too, it's just so light and poppy that it sets you in a good mood. It's that Dead Kennedys mood, huh?