Artist – Album: The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
Released: 19th June 2001
Sounds Like: It makes a good first impression
Most days I already know the album I’m listening to pretty well, and I have some sort of accompanying mildly interesting (I hope!) back-story that I can root around and pull out from the back of the sofa of my mind. Every now and again, though, an album comes along that has slipped through my mental net (nice mix of metaphors there Joe). Oh, Inverted World, the debut record by the Shins, is one of those elusive few.
So, quick surf of the internet tells me... this is the splendidly quiffed Scrubber Zach Braff’s favourite album. And... in his film Garden State (which I’ve not seen yet, is it any good?), two of the songs here were used, one of which – ‘New Slang’ – was introduced with the following quote “You gotta hear this one song. It'll change your life, I swear.” Groovy... Also, also, apparently, the album is one of the most important and influential indie albums of the early 00’s. Its gentle, melodic sound, literate lyrics and universal themes made it one of the standard bearers of the genre’s move away from the spiky ironic rock end of the indie spectrum to the mellow, autumnal pop which dominated the 21st century. So that’s pretty cool.
Welllll, I don’t know about all that. I mean, I do trust Wikipedia and Allmusic, but I didn’t know about all that at least until today. I do know though that this is a sweet and gorgeous album. There are traces of the great baroque pop 60’s bands such as The Beach Boys and The Zombies, and some of the imagery is just plain beautiful. Although its smooth, airy indie pop never really falters, the highlights – ‘Caring is Creepy’, ‘Know Your Onion!’, ‘New Slang’ and ‘Pressed in a Book’ – really sparkle. I’m not sure it’s a life-changer, but it is a wonderful personal discovery.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
1. Caring Is Creepy – 3:19
2. One by One All Day – 4:08
3. Weird Divide – 1:57
4. Know Your Onion! – 2:28
5. Girl Inform Me – 2:19
6. New Slang – 3:49
7. The Celibate Life – 1:49
8. Girl on the Wing – 2:48
9. Your Algebra – 2:22
10. Pressed in a Book – 2:54
11. The Past and Pending – 5:21
Listen to ‘The Celibate Life’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KMjxAvpUD0