The Shins - Wincing the Night Away (New CD)
Recorded over time in James Mercer's basement studio, Phil Ek's Seattle digs, and in Oregon City with veteran engineer Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, U2) - Wincing the Night Away is a Whole new animal. It's is the sound of a band growing up and out. Mercer's infectious, indelible melodic style is still at the core, and unfaltering. But anything can happen around it - and in this case, it does. Channeling a Morrissey vibe, 'Sea Legs' pairs a hip-hop (yes, hip-hop) beat with lush melodic lines and searing guitars. Elsewhere the band toys with tweaked-out piano steeped in psychedelic strings ('Red Rabbit'); fractured synth samples ('Silt Needles')' gauzy, arpeggiated keyboards cloaking thunderous anthems (Sleeping Lessons')' and, taking cues from early Jesus and Mary Chain albums - Seeping, fuzztoned epics ('Phantom Limb'). Finally, 'Turn on Me, ' 'Girl Sailor' and 'Australia' are the lilting, exhilarating, rollicking, rock-solid pop songs we've all come to covet from The Shins.