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Wincing the Night Away

3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 23 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B000K2VHN2
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,503 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Sleeping Lessons
2. Australia
3. Pam Berry
4. Phantom Limb
5. Sea Legs
6. Red Rabbits
7. Turn On Me
8. Black Wave
9. Spilt Needles
10. Girl Sailor
11. A Comet Appears

Product Description

Product Description

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. Its 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.


Indie-rock's hardest-working slackers finally release their third album, on which they've made the clear transition from bedroom-pop to stadium-rock without losing everything that makes them great. Those soaring vocals that sound like the unholiest collision of the Cure and Simon and Garfunkel, the nimble pop hooks that are never overused, those lyrics that are as self-deprecating and razor sharp as they are playful--dude, it's all still here. Relax, you can still swoon. Musically, there are some new elements, from the ragged surf-rock that propels "Pam Berry" to the near hip-hop beats of "Sea Legs" and percolating electronica on "Sleeping Lessons" (which two thirds of the way through shows Band of Horses how to write a song). Wincing is neither the clever genre recombinant exercise of their second album nor is it the perfect little self-contained universe of their debut. This is not the Shins' best album; it's their growing pains third record. James Mercer has learned how to shout his words so the folks in the back row can hear; a slightly harder edge and more confidence is on display. But it doesn't gel fully. Mercer remains one of the most talented songwriters working in pop today, and what this album proves is that the group deserves to move beyond the little Zach-Braff-movie-watching, This-American-Life-listening, Frappuccino-sipping demo-ghetto they've found themselves in. Wincing confidently bristles with stupendous and smart rock music that deserves to be enjoyed by your kid brother and your folks as much as your dorm-mates. --Mike McGonigal

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Shins have an art of blending what is considered "pop" and what is considered "indie" seamlessly and without much discrepency between the two genres. They have managed to make production into something that almost draws attention to itself in its complexity and texturization of various sounds and vocals, in a way that few bands can, as oppose to the musical equivelant of "continuity editing" that is often seen on most albums.

There are few fall-backs to the latest Shins release. Among the best tracks are the ever-quirky, catchy and intricate "Sea Legs", perhaps one of the greatest songs these Sub Pop superstars have ever recorded, and the jangly, fun "Phantom Limb".

The beauty of The Shins is in their ability to utilize production to its fullest, Mercer's unique wavering voice and their strange, unexpected cadence and phrasing. All of these elements make for near-perfect listening on "Wincing the Night Away". If this album is your first foray into the Shins' exciting and kooky sound, be sure to pick up the previous releases, which are just as enjoyable as this one!
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Shins were described in "Garden State" as a band that will change your life. Tall order, but it got people listening to this brilliant indiepop band's first two albums, and radically raised expectations for their third.

And "Wincing The Night Away" won't disappoint their fans, as they're just moving the same pop aesthetic forward. The Shins' third album sounds confident and polished, with its bizarrely appealing lyrics and a wintry pop sound.

It opens with running footsteps and a shimmering string of synth notes. "Go without 'til the need seeps in/you low animal, collect your novel petals for the stem/And glow, glow, melt and flow/eviscerate your fragile frame," James Mercer croons, sounding like a pensive ghost. Then the melody grows stronger and more intense, until it erupts into a rousing guitarpop tune.

Things get a bit cheerier with the rousing, upbeat sound of "Australia" ("So give me your hand,/And let's jump out the window!") and the fuzzy, ominous sound of a one-minute interlude. After that, the band happily bounces out onto catchy sinuous indiepop, gauzy little melodies, rousing guitar pop, ghostly folky songs, and the surprisingly soft finale "A Comet Appears."

But the highlight has to be the main single, "Phantom Limb," a glorious fuzz-guitar pop tune with surreal lyrics: "So, when they tap our mundane heads/To zombie-walk in our stead/This town seems hardly worth our time/And we'll no longer memorize or rhyme..."

The Shins may have come out with the first really brilliant album of the year, by not changing all the good things about their music. Instead, these guys just tighten up what they already had -- brilliant pop music, complex instrumentation, and really bizarre lyrics.
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Format: Audio CD
Wincing the Night Away shows The Shins becoming a real band and is their most solid album to date. That being said, it is nowhere as immediate as their first two albums. Don't fret, allow me to explain.

With Oh, Inverted World we first got a glimpse of James Mercer and the boys' blend of psychedelic and jangly indie-pop that left most very impressed with how fresh it sounded and how well Mercer blended so many different influences into one album that stands so strong. The tracks were jumpy but a cut above most cliche indie tunes due to interesting meter in his lyrics and extremely strong melodies. All that said, this was James Mercer's side project and it sounds like it. He plays most of the instruments and it lacks the collaborative nature and invention that great bands can have in the studio.

Chutes Too Narrow came out to high expectations from Garden-Staters and Dorm-room rockers to be sure, and rather than release the same old fare, the Shins crafted a very clever acoustic rock album with songs that, while less atmospheric than those on Oh Inverted World, were stronger releases and the album is now held in just as high regard. No sophomore slump for the Shins, and i felt i was starting to hear more of a cohesive unit this time around, each member playing a more complex part and making each song much more layered ("Saint Simon" anyone).

Which brings us to Wincing the Night Away.

More Money, More Time, Higher expectations... All these things in place and the Shins new album is their best to date. First thing to note, this album sounds extremely different than their first two albums. For example, on the track "Australia" it blends synth elements of New Wave with a melody that wouldn't be too off on a Supremes record.
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Format: Audio CD
The Shins have done it again?but this time, they are a little bit weirder.

After the success of their previous two efforts, thanks to a helping hand from a certain depressing film that rhymes with ?Garden State,? the Shins have released their most eclectic album to date.

Wincing the Night Away is a mix of dreamy indie rock crossed with psychedelic pop, similar to that of the Liars or Animal Collective.

?Sleeping Lessons? is an ethereal introduction to the albums relaxed state, while vocalist James Mercer maintains the same quirky aesthetic before bursting into a cavorting Arcade Fire-inspired exit.

The band not only explores a richer songwriting style this time around, they also delve into the sweeping melodies of a time once reserved for driving around in a GTO with your high-school sweetheart. ?Australia? and ?Phantom Limb? will make you wish you still had a soda shop to go to.

The Shins is a band that has not yet suffered a curse as far as solid releases go. Wincing the Night Away makes everything feel right with the world, and if you don?t feel that way after having a listen, you might not have a soul.
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