I spent a lot of driving time this weekend listening to album #8 on the list from my son, “Oh, Inverted World” by American indie rock band The Shins. Primarily the creative outlet and product of singer and guitarist James Mercer, I will say this was a return to favor after not loving the last selection I was given by my son. It isn’t an album that became a must-listen, but I did enjoy it (certainly more than Christie) and I was surprised how many sounds I detected across this record.
My favorite song is “Weird Divide”, a trippy and cosmic wander that is a very pleasant and soothing melody. “Know Your Onion”, one of two singles from the album, reminds me of Ray Davies singing “Father Christmas” by the Kinks. “Girl Inform Me” sounds exactly like it could fit in with the Brian Wilson celebration that was “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys. “New Slang”, the other single, is simple and fairly plain folk-rock, but it has a very happy tone.
“Girl on the Wing” reflects a Cars-like keyboard sound, with the necessary guitar contrast. “Your Algebra” takes me back to “Scarborough Fair” by Simon and Garfunkel, including the harmony vocals. “Pressed in a Book” has a Sgt. Pepper Beatles-esque feel, and like many of the songs on this record, I sense a surprisingly wide range of styles on this album.
“The Past and Pending” is a subtle and appropriate closing track, which is mostly just Mercer on vocals and guitars. It took me a bit to connect fully to this record, but I’m glad I saw it through. I may not go out of my way to replay this record, but if someone else did, I would be happy to listen in.