Shins Produce More of the Same, Same Still Good

Like most people of my age, the first time I heard The Shins was on Zach Braff’s self written, directed, and starred movie: Garden State. Braff was a huge fan of the band, and when making the film, decided to put in favorites “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang”. These songs, off of their sophomore release Oh, Inverted World, catapulted them into the spotlight.

With their fourth release (5th if you include side project Broken Bells), James Mercer & Co create an album that is very typical of their own sound. While the New Mexico-raised and Portland-based band has survived their entire life with wonderful, carefree instrumentals and lyrics that no one can truly understand without reading them online as you listen along. Honestly, though, this album does not do to Wincing the Night Away that Oh, Inverted World did to Chutes Too Narrow. There is something groundbreaking that is missing. Sure James Mercer puts together another great album, but it builds very little off of those of the past. Granted that that is a very difficult thing to do.

Don’t get me wrong. The Shins do a great job of being themselves. Songs like “Simple Song” and “40 Mark Strasse” are exactly what Shins fans will eat up. Sometimes, nostalgia is a good thing, and these songs certainly invoke those emotions. I just feel like there needs to be a song that builds on this. One that perhaps blends something besides dreamy acoustic and electric guitar with gliding vocals. The Shins have perfected that art. Let’s see them progress a little more.

If this album were released 10 or 15 years ago, it could have been groundbreaking for the Shins, but in this day and age, it is simply just more of the same. The good news is that the same is wonderfully talented and pleasing.

Rating: W — P — G 

Key Tracks: “Simple Song”, “September”, and “40 Mark Strasse”

RIYL: The Format, MGMT, and Real Estate

Check out : “Simple Song

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