The Shins are an American indie rock band led by singer, songwriter and guitarist James Mercer, who is the band's only consistent member. Originally rising to fame with Mercer, keyboardist Martin Crandall, bassist Dave Hernandez, and drummer Jesse Sandoval, this lineup fell apart in 2009, and there have been few consistent members since. Their sound draws on several musical genres, including pop, alternative rock, indie rock and folk. The Shins were formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but are now based in Portland, Oregon. Their latest album, Heartworms, was released in March 2017.
- Oh, Inverted World (2001)
- Chutes Too Narrow (2003)
- Wincing The Night Away (2007)
- Port of Morrow (2012)
- Heartworms (2017)
This band provides examples of:
- Album Title Drop: Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow are named for lyrics in "One By One All Day" and "Young Pilgrims" respectively.
- Break-Up Song: Quite a few of them.
- Growing Up Sucks: One interpretation of "New Slang."
- I Am the Band: James Mercer. It's gotten to the point where The A.V. Club calls the band "James Mercer and friends" instead of "The Shins".
- Last Note Nightmare: "One By One All Day" is mostly calm...until the end, where there's a very loud, jarring chord to end the song.
- Les Yay: According to James Mercer, "Phantom Limb" is about a young lesbian couple dealing with the prejudices of the small town they live in.
- Lyrical Dissonance: All over the place.
- Perhaps the greatest example is "Australia". Perhaps the most upbeat and cheery sounding song on Wincing the Night Away belies lyrics that befit a Despair Event Horizon.
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch: Another staple of their style. For example:
- The Rifle's Spiral: The song is about a suicide bomber. The video is a stop-motion animation of a magician protecting a rabbit from a Nebulous Evil Organisation.
- Simple Song: The song is a man reminiscing about his childhood sweetheart. The video is three adult siblings attending their father's funeral.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: "Oh! Inverted World"
- Non-Appearing Title: "Know Your Onion", "Australia", "Phantom Limb" note , and "Caring is Creepy".
- Old-Timey Ankle Taboo: "Turn A Square":Just a glimpse of an ankle and IReact like it's 1805
- Protest Song: "No Way Down"
- "Sesame Street" Cred: They've been on Yo Gabba Gabba! and contributed music to The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie soundtrack.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: They even move up and down this in mid-song.
- Surreal Music Video: The Rifle's Spiral is a strange marriage of Edward Gorey and David Lynch. In Stop Motion.
- This Is a Song: "Simple Song"
- Word Salad Lyrics: Subverted; the lyrics seem random, but they certainly do suggest a consistent feeling, and are rife with metaphors.