Image Credit/ TheShins.com
I may be dividing people with this opinion, but I believe that The Shins (essentally James Mercer and whoever he’s hanging out with at the time) are this generation’s modernized version of the The Beach Boys. They’ve already positioned themselves well in indie culture, dating back to when they were featured as the centerpiece on the OST for “Garden State”. But the reason they’ve been able to expand themselves (appealing to just about everyone, a la Wilson & Co.) and wind up so high on the Billboard chart with each successive release can be found in how they prioritize songwriting: 1.) the texture, 2.) the melody, 3.) finally, the lyrics
“The Rifle’s Spiral” is easily the darkest “pocket symphony” on the group’s fourth album. The song is plainly and simply about death, and those who choose it before it chooses them. An off-putting honky-tonk piano arrangement swirls around the guitar line creating dread in the listener while simultaneously forcing them into an inescapable trance. An excellent way to start “Port of Morrow”.
Check out the brilliant video from Emmy-award winner Jamie Caliri, too. If Mercer is the new Brian Wilson, then this guy is the new Tim Burton.