The Shins

Topping many a critic’s list last year was the ShinsOh, Inverted World, which captivated indie kids too young to remember Suede and too jaded to buy into Strokesmania. Led by former Flake frontman James Mercer, the Albuquerque, New Mexico, quartet brings a lo-fi sensibility to its new slang, burying somber melodies beneath Milky-Way grooves. The group’s lush instrumentation — including acoustic guitars and cheesed-out keyboards — defies the conventional garage-rock wisdom that three sloppy chords and a Marshall stack are the only means of moving masses. Though the group has already become passé in some snobbish indie circles, careful listeners haven’t judged the Shins too harshly for stumbling upon success.

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