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Mercifully nothing like that ‘Australia’, The Shins’ latest single from their successful Wincing The Night Away LP – their first to receive an official UK release through Transgressive – is a wonderfully bubbly, sweetly rocking indie-pop number, perfect listening given the current spread of bright blue skies blanketing the British Isles.
Although the type of music that The Shins chose to make their own isn’t exactly of the rocket science variety – a couple of hooks here, some “la la la la”s there – it is perfectly formed and brilliantly realised: this song, whatever its underlying concepts, couldn’t be prettier if it were released in ice cream sundae 'packaging', sprinkled with hundred and thousands and topped with a sparkler. Happy Birthday! Every day...
With the slightest suggestion of melancholy in James Mercer’s voice, the piece is brought together magically by the sort of subtle instrumentation that’s been the making of a dozen or so greats before The Shins; the classic, enduring bands who crop up every year in some glossy or other’s Best Albums Ever countdown. It’s an indescribable x-factor that no critic can truly pinpoint, but it’s absolutely apparent with ‘Australia’ that The Shins have cracked said magic formula, and aren’t revealing their secrets any time soon.
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