The Shins are back...or I should say, they will be back when the new album, "Wincing the Night Away" hits stores on January 23rd.
The Shins captured everyone's heart in 2004 by virtue of Natalie Portman saying, "You gotta hear this one song, it'll change your life, I swear," in Zach Braff's film Garden State. The perfect placement of Shins tracks in key portions of this film inspired many new fans to check out the band's 2003 album, "Chutes too Narrow."
Following a rigorous touring schedule with an elongated break for writing and recording the new record, The Shins latest album will come 39 months after the release of "Chutes."
"Wincing" was leaked to the internet this past weekend, and this tech savvy reporter/Shins fan quickly obtained the illegal files for early review purposes. (It's not stealing if you intend to buy the album on release day, is it? Let's see if good intentions hold up.)
In regard to sound, this album is far more diverse than Chutes or the previous full-length "Oh! Inverted World" which relied fairly heavily on vocal driven tracks that drew comparisons to Coldplay (what?) from such reputable mags as Rolling Stone and Spin. "Wincing" is more diverse in that it allows the complex instrumentation to drive songs forward and allows the voice of lead Shin James Mercer to fill in the gaps.
For any Shins fan, this record will more than satiate a new album desire, and it avoids any of the third album (though they've recorded several EPs and an album under the name Flake Music prior to becoming The Shins) pitfalls, such as falling into a rut or dismantling
completely in an effort to "stay fresh."
Key Tracks: Sleeping Lessons (listen), Sea Legs
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Though the album does have Top 5-2007 possibility, unless they rush the release after the leak, then 2006)