SHINS, THE: Oh, Inverted World: CD

Having grouped together in Albuquerque, NM in 1992, the members of The Shins have spent the past nine years recording ten records and touring with the likes of Modest Mouse and Califone. Oh, and they changed their name a few times as well. Previously known as Flake and Flakemusic, the Shins formed in 1997 – same members, just with different instruments and a different vision. Oh, “Inverted World” is the Shin’s second full length release and their first for Sub Pop. From the moment James Mercer’s slightly high pitched, though never whiny or squeaky, vocals break through on “Caring is Creepy,” this reviewer was hooked. The lyrics may not be readily apparent, but the vocal melody is immediate. With a sweet pop sound that never leaves a pixie stick aftertaste, “Oh, Inverted World” can’t help but bring to mind the likes of XTC. Songs like “Know Your Onion,” “Girl Inform Me,” and “New Slang” (for which there is a video) feature those steady toe-tapping beats and infectious melodies that made Andy Partridge an intellectual pop hero two decades ago. Hmm… maybe the press release was on to something when referring to the Shins as “the Miracle of the Great Southwest.”

 –liz (Sub Pop)