Get a leg up from The Shins.
Why are The Shins not a bigger band than what they are right now? They've had Hollywood endorsement, their last two albums have been of considerale quality whilst less credible and less talented peers have sold bucketloads more records and gained many more column inches. Perhaps because they dont have their private lives splashed in the tabloids or they dont seem to have any moral failings on show they arent as newsworthy as some acts that shift units these days but if it came down to brilliant songs and more melodies than you could shake a rhythm stick at then The Shins should have gold and platinum records in every room of their houses.
Just like the album 'Wincing The Night Away', the show opened with 'Sleeping Lessons' and a more impressive and atmospheric introduction would be hard to find. The slow build-up allowing lead singer James Russell to immediately take control of the night before the closing section and the emphatic "You dont have to swallow anything you despise" washing over the crowd in ever increasing waves.
Similar to their show at the Barras, the set could have benefitted from being louder but part of this may be down to the high quality of the bands recordings as opposed to any great slight on their live show. Then again, these old ears of mine have been burst a million times and given that the crowd were roaring back every line perhaps the fault lay with the reviewer as opposed to the sound set-up.
The Shins manage to marry the the inventive melodies of their music with lyrics that are a step apart from their peers. Bands like Maximo Park may throw in as many big words and big ideas as they can in an attempt to convince people of their intelligence but with The Shins it comes across as natural. An early reason for this reviewerto fall in love with the band is their use of the word "malcontent", which for a certain group of people living in Glasgow in the early 1990s, conjures up some grim memories of that era but can be looked back on now with an air of acceptance and relaxed grace. As well as managing to rhyme "chin" and "oxygen" the band are not shy of using simple "la la la's" in their backing vocals and again, was returned with every bit of passion and vigour from the audience. Like many great pop bands they mix the clever and shiny, upbeat pop with the darker side and the lyric "secretly I want you buried in the yard" hints at an evil undertone to the band. What is ironic is that The Shins played the same venue as Interpol had entertained the night before with 'Evil', a song which makes reference to Rosemary West, so for two nights in a row, The Corn Exchange played host to songs about putting people underground. The Edinburgh venue may lack the murderous history that is associated with the Barrowlands ballroom and Bible John but for once, the East Coasters had their own taste of musical murder mystery.
The encore started with a cover of Pink Floyd's 'Breathe', from their 'Dark Side of The Moon' record, one of the albums more sedate and chilled out moments from that classic record and didnt seem out of place with the rest of the nights entertainment. With set closer 'So Says I' proving itself to be one of the jewels in the bands catalogue, the way it steps and descends from verse to chorus is amazingly joyous and the first and last songs of the evening would have been enough to give a little bit of your heart to the act, the rest of the set is an unbelievable bonus.