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Wincing the Night Away
The Shins
Long-awaited follow-up to 2003’s Chutes Too Narrow from a band whose prominent mention in Garden State launched them into “favorite band” lists all across the MySpace universe.

PETER: The more I’ve listened to the Shins, the more irritated I’ve become by James Mercer’s vocals. He has a beautiful voice, but on many songs, his convoluted and cryptic lyrics come out in a rushed, whining singsong I don’t like. At least a few tracks here have an almost-jazzy feel, which mellows him out.
Rating: 5
Best Track: "Sea Legs"

JOS: It’s fine for a band to have signature sounds that give all their work a distinct personality, but this album is nothing but Shins idiosyncrasies we’ve heard before. Not a second of it could be confused with anyone other than the guys who made “New Slang.”
Rating: 6
Best Track: "Sea Legs"

SARAH: A kindergartner in a full fireman’s uniform, who has shaken his head without a word through a bunch of other bands, turns to me beaming when this album comes on. Then he asks if he can play it for his dog. I share his enthusiasm for a few of the songs, but just as many of them don’t do anything for me. I realize that I like the Shins at a medium tempo, and that’s about it—if you can sing that well, why try anything else?
Rating: 7
Best Track: "Phantom Limb"

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