Oh, man, it's all about The Shins this week, and rightly so. It's been years and years since I've been as blown away by a single as "Phantom Limb." The first few times I heard it, I thought it was so-so. For some reason, I didn't remove it from iPod rotation after the requisite two spins. It continued to come around with increasing frequency. Then I began seeking it out (no easy feat, sometimes, when you have a Shuffle).
It's impossible to sing along to a song you can't for the life of you figure out the words to, but I did the impossible.
It got its hooks into me. And such hooks!
The new record, Wincing the Night Away, after many delays, was released today. I was a good boy and didn't go find a bittorent leak of the album. I was a very good boy. Was the wait worth it? Well, I have a very handsome piece of vinyl to show for it (dig it, brothers and sisters, when you buy the LP, Sup Pop throws in digital downloads for you for free!). As for the music, given how much of a grower the single was, it's way too early to tell. On first hearing, it sounds like a bigger, broader Shins. Hail the bands that rise to heightened expectations.
In the meantime, put this bug in your ear and let it float there awhile. The terminally hip among you are probably sick of it already, but the rest of you could probably use a dose of this medicine.
•The Shins: Phantom Limb (MP3)
•The Shins home myspace
P.S. It's nice to have printed lyrics — a touch I didn't expect from this cryptic crew. The actual lyrics ("Foals in winter coats") are much more evocative than the misheard ones, and I'm coming to believe that they achieve a compression and inscrutable beauty that Ken Babstock would envy.