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February 16, 2007 at 8:59am

The Shins Wincing the Night Away

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Theshins The Shins Wincing the Night Away (Sub Pop)

Despite the great reviews of their debut the Shins remained Sub Pop Records best kept secret. It wasn’t until 2003’s Chutes Too Narrow that they gained the airplay they deserved.  Following a high profile appearance on the “Garden State” soundtrack, the Shins found themselves embraced by the mainstream despite their indie roots.   Three years since their last release the Shins are launching a high profile outing for their third record, Wincing the Night Away.

Like the band’s previous work, Wincing the Night Away retains their jangly guitar sound and lush harmonies with a pop sensibility of the ‘60s British invasion, yet this time they up the ante with a nod to ‘80s wave that is a fresh break from a proven formula. The first single, “Phantom Limb,” is actually the only track that has the Beach Boys timbre synonymous for the quartet.  Airy cuts such as “Sleeping Lessons,” “Pam Berry,” and “Black Wave” finds them straying even farther their signature sound with a synth-intense aura that feels wispy and wistfully dark.  “Sea Legs,” “Turn On Me,” and “Girl Sailor” are straight ahead rockers that each have a the Jam-like rock-wave appeal. The disc ends with low key “A Comet Appears” featuring a solo performance by James Mercer and the gentle strumming of his electric guitar.  While the threat that the Shins will become another corporate indie rock band is a definite possibility, they haven’t sold out yet and have only gotten better with each album.

The Shins play the Paramount Theatre Tuesday, Feb. 20.  Tickets available at Ticketmaster. â€" Tony Engelhart

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