Wincing The Night Away
Label: Sub Pop Records
The pressure was on for the Shins' third LP, causing songwriter James Mercer to retreat to the Moog-lit glow of his basement. The skittish nights alluded to in the title bear out in the opening, "Sleeping Lessons," which cautiously emerges from a fog of synthesizers one careful instrument at a time. The album doesn't match the total package of Chutes Too Narrow, but when they eschew the 808 and '80s synths for a simple back beat--as on "Australia," "Turn On Me" and the single "Phantom Limb"--the Shins still prove to be more satisfying than their literary pop peers.