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The Shins Biography

Last updated: 07/22/2012 12:00:00 PM

Face it, the band you've been waiting for all these years is The Shins. Not convinced? Give me a moment to introduce you the Miracle of the Great Southwest.

The vast deserts of New Mexico are anything but barren, at least from a creative standpoint. Our story begins in Albuquerque circa 1992. The Grunge Invasion has swept out of the Northwest and into the ears of every kid with a pawn shop guitar. It affects everyone differently.

For The Shins, there comes to pass a monumental distillation of post-punk garage rock, the indie sounds of Chicago and a healthy dose of pure, unadulterated pop from a time when Brian Wilson was at the helm. Melody is key. Hooks are aplenty and then some. Some stars are born. Call it a natural progression.

Nine years, 10 records, acclaimed tours with Modest Mouse and Califone, countless other live dates and three name changes later, The Shins have finally begun to get their just desserts. Why did it take so long? Who really cares? Just be glad you made it this far without them, and take comfort in knowing that the yearning is over. Just like that.

From the ashes of Flake, then Flakemusic, The Shins took shape in 1997 - same members, different instruments, different approach, culled from nearly a decade of playing together. Counterpoint guitars gave way to a single guitar pitted against calculated keyboard passages, swarming indie rock machinations to pop-based melodic endeavors.

The resulting sound germinates in a post-punk aesthetic with nods to a traditional pop ethos. There's nothing like it on which to base analysis. Nothing at all. Live sets deviate enthusiastically from recorded works - there's just no telling. The Shins are a story that's still being written, edited.

What happens next is anyone's guess. You can take active part by listening. What you'll discover is the band you've been waiting for. Are you ready?

- Michael Henningsen

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2001