It’s a pity, really. They’ve a near impeccable track record, sculpting little twinges of indie sadgladness for almost a decade now. And though I’ll be the first to admit that I never considered them a particularly great band, anyone who can endure such intimate relations with Garden State and come out rep intact deserves a thousand props.
SO. A pity then that for no particular reason, seemingly on a whim, The Shins have decided to release 10 perfectly middling, drivetime FM songs with none of the harmonic bite and lyrical interest that has made them a constant proposition for these last years. There is a big fat nothing to say about it. Nothing stands out. Nothing. There are hooks galore, but none were screwed well enough into the walls of the songs to support anything more than fleas and whitewash. Bad songs are one thing, but mediocre ballads?
An album of fluff, is this. Even the band sound like they don’t care. Perhaps it’s the production (why succumb NOW to gloss n candy?). Perhaps they can’t scrape through the varnish. But indie music, in my mind at least, should aim in part to lift off apathy – not paste it on so thick you forget what colour the bathtub was.
Boring. In the worst possible way.
Released on 19th March 2012 by Columbia Records