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Oh, Inverted World Enhanced

4.5 out of 5 stars 313 customer reviews

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Product Description

Hailing from Albuquerque, NM, The Shins sprung from the ashes of Flake/Flakemusic in 1997 (though those previous incarnations date back nearly a decade) - same members, different instruments, different approach. Counterpoint guitars have given way to a single guitar pitted against calculated keyboard passages; swarming indie rock machinations led to pop-based melodic endeavors.

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Something extraordinary is afoot in Albuquerque. The Shins' first big-time record, Oh, Inverted World, combines mysterious narratives with golden song structures, resulting in lavish and opulent indie pop. Touches of Neutral Milk Hotel's lyrical majesty and the nostalgic swirl of Echo and the Bunnymen abound. But the Shins' music--rich with acoustic guitars, flickering rhythms, and Casio-tone keyboards--is distinct and peculiar. Worry mixes with abstraction throughout, and while James Mercer sings, "You led no celibate life / No skirt while chemicals danced on your head / You stole the keys to this ride / And your fables are falling tonight," you may wonder if he's been routing through your fondest, most troubling memories. This vital album is easily among 2001's most distinguished recordings and one of the best Sub Pop releases to date. --Thom Arno
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 19, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B00005JSHW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,921 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Boros on October 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Shins have managed to combine the best in pop sounds with everything from acoustic ballads, psychedelic sounds and pure rockers. While they maintain strong melodies and pop influence, there is still a hint of experimental sounds throughout this album-whether it's from odd keyboard approaches or wacky lyrics, the Shins have created an album that cannot be compared to anything but the Shins.
For a debut release, it's nice to see a band being a band and not following current trends. This could very easily be one of the finest new bands I have discovered. No song runs over four minutes and not one track on this albums needs skipping past-they all work on all sorts of levels.
The album's opening song, "Caring is Spooky" has such a great feeling to it. "Know Your Onion" is a great teenage rebel type song-talking about a "pimple and angry" kind of guy. The album's single "New Slang" is possibly one of the best acoustic songs I've ever heard-even though there is a great but simple electric guitar section too. And we cannot forget "Girl On The Wing"-easily the best song on the album. It rocks, has an interesting type of time signature, and a great, corky keyboard background.
This is simply a great Indie Rock/Pop album from a band that will be making wavs. It will be interesting to see where they go next. Give it a try.
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Format: Audio CD
...well, maybe not my all-time *favorite* record, but I had to use a quote from the album for the review title...

I bought this thing having heard only one song, once, on the radio. Impulse buys are fun. I really lucked out this time. "Oh, Inverted World" is a great album. On the first listen, it's really good, and it improves over time.

I am not the type of person who plays an album twice in a row, or even once every day; I usually wait a few days between listens, not wanting to over-play an album to death. But this one's different. I can't get enough of it. And on every listen, I discover new things: new hooks, cool rhythm stuff, weird little sounds in the background. The songs are the kind that work themselves into your brain and rattle around in there for (literally) several days, and you don't mind at all. They are all standout tracks, except one or two, and even those are still very good songs.

The lyrics are unique, and good. The first couple times, the writing style comes across as quite strange. But once you get used to the style, you start to really like it, and it's so much fun to gradually puzzle out what he's talking about. I still don't understand the meaning of all the songs, so there's another reason to keep playing the record...

I wish this band had more releases, I would buy them immediately. I also wish I had the chance to see them live with Modest Mouse or Preston School of Industry, like some other reviewers, but in Australia that's not likely. I'll have to be content with playing "Oh, Inverted World" over and over again. And that is fine by me, really.

In conclusion: get it, get it, get it. Try, if you can, to find the enhanced version with "Sphagnum Esplanade" and the video for "New Slang"; but even without those, it would be a great album. So go and buy it.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm finding it increasingly difficult these days to find entire albums I simply adore. The core of my musical being belongs to bands like the Smiths, Pulp, Suede, and Belle and Sebastian, who I believe carried on the torch dropped by Morrissey & Marr in this dark, dusty new millenium. But this little masterpiece called "Oh, Inverted World" by the Shins seems destined to head down that same gilded path.
I stumbled on this band by accident, looking up other acts on Amazon such as Stereo Total and Death by Chocolate. I was surprised to find out the Shins weren't from the UK, because they have a Britpop sound. Their soft, infectious rhythyms make it hard to do anything else except listen closely. Pretty much all the songs on this CD are exceptionally strong, with little filler. Okay, maybe "Your Algebra" references Os Mutantes a bit much, and yes, fine, "The Past and Pending" feels a bit long at the end there, but why carp? This album rolls dreamily by, as pretty and sublime as puffy white clouds in a clear blue spring sky. The thing is: this album is candy. Sweet and piercing, it will cloy lovingly at your heart, without you quite understanding why or how. And that's just fine.
"Know Your Onion" and "New Slang" are my two favorite songs, because they're sung in an aching ballad tempo with a bit of added verve behind it. Just my style. If you like Belle and Sebastian, but prefer their snappier (although more rare) tracks to their more heartfelt precious songs, then you'll really love the Shins. The album opener, "Caring is Creepy" immediately demands attention, because it has a soaring melody, with a glam-rock bent that recalls, oddly enough, Roxy Music. All the songs hang solidly onto quick, shocking melodies, and make their statement.
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Format: Audio CD
I discovered this CD just a few days ago, and I'm still a bit surprised just how much it grabbed me. What initially struck me most about this album is how gentle and soothing The Shins' music sounds, yet how many of their lyrics are just as cynical or mournful. Somehow this odd coupling works very well.

The lyrics in songs like "The Celibate Life" and "Past and Pending" serve as coarse commentaries on unintentional but self destructive paths people take. The prose is really elegant. At times, in fact, it comes close to sounding pretentious; but somehow The Shins know just when to reel the lines in.

The tune that hooked me above all others is "New Slang." Musically, this song best captures the moody essence of The Shins. The lyrics are beautiful and devastating; where many of the words in "Oh, Inverted World" seem to observe human errors and regrets, "New Slang" stands out as a heartbreaking look at unrequited love: "and if you'd 'a took to me like/ a gull takes to the wind/ well, I'd 'a jumped from my tree/ and I'd 'a danced like the King of the eyesores/ and the rest of our lives would 'a fared well." The sweet melancholy lines in this song immediately reminded me of Donovan's "Catch the Wind" (yes, I know I'm exposing both my age and my melodramatic tendencies!). Another wonderful tune that focuses on sentiment and memories is "The Weird Divide."

The other thing that struck me while listening to this CD was that The Shins have a sound all their own, yet I found myself comparing bits and pieces of "Oh, Inverted World" to a mix of bands I've listened to throughout the years.
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