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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Shins
Oh, Inverted World
Sub Pop Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
I've been listening to this album pretty regularly for the last few weeks and I only have a few concrete thing to say about it. For one, James Mercer's vocals can get to me sometimes. For two, The Shins borrow liberally from several all too obvious influences.

Other than that, I can't really make up my mind about The Shins' debut. I'm not traditionally mesmerized by light, wispy guitar tones and overtly pop music - I pretty much despise most of the Beach Boys' catalog - but Oh, Inverted World lays out a number of perfect late-summer tracks that are nothing if not mesmerizing. Mercer's vocals may have the ability to irritate, but they are also one of the strongest points on the album. Respectable, somewhat literary lyrics delivered in varying pitch that always blends with or compliments the guitar tone.

The album does grow on the listener with time, but from the get-go the standout tracks are "Caring is Creepy", "Know Your Onion" with its borderline grating vocal hook, and the colossal back-to-school lovers waltz "New Slang", which I can picture on the soundtrack to a score (pun!) of my favorite autumnal flicks.

For however much I like or dislike this album, one thing that I can't get over is how often it is improperly assessed as groundbreaking. I'm one of those non-scene guys and I do get quite a bit peeved when I think about just how much the press surrounding Oh, Inverted World implicates the über-indie cock sucking that goes on in independent journalism. Almost every review of this album I've read has been droolingly positive, and the buzz continues to grow in spite of The Shins' blatant rehashing of ideas put forth by the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Modest Mouse, the Elephant 6 Company, and the Sea and Cake. If this album had come out on a smaller indie I'm positive it would have been bashed like only Wolfie can imagine, but since Oh, Inverted World bears the Sub Pop hipster seal, it has gone out largely unscathed, causing me to lose a lot of respect for many of my peers.

Oh, Inverted World is a solid album by talented pop craftsmen, no doubt, but at its best I don't know that it even warrants comparison to Neutral Milk Hotel's "The King of Carrot Flowers". I'd suggest picking it up before the air dries out and the leaves turn, but if you're short on cash you could put together a mix tape that would be just as solid and every bit as forward thinking.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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