“Hello, Phoenix, Arizona!” says singer James Mercer. It truly is boiling here in Reading. There’s no shade anywhere and people are flat out (as our previous blog shows) soaking up the sun. A perfect time for the summery pop of The Shins?
As the first notes peal out, it’s clear what makes The Shins so special: they’re fantastic writers, demonstrating some of the most gorgeous songcraft since Brian Wilson moved his piano out of the sandpit.
Songs like ‘Phantom Limb’ and ‘Australia’ contain chord changes to make you weak at the knees, melodic twists to melt your heart; but in weather when everything else is melting, The Shins are perhaps too languid for their own good.
Eagles Of Death Metal roused the crowd out of their heatwave stupor earlier with their punchy rock and roll, but The Shins are far too subtle and intelligent to grab everyone’s attention, especially when they neglect to play their most famous tracks, ‘New Slang’ and ‘Fighting In A Sack’.
Having said that, they do get a good turn out, and a lot of people erupt into cheers when ‘Phantom Limb’ begins. Through no fault of their own, today wasn’t quite the right atmosphere in which to see Mercer and co, but their talents nevertheless shone through.
Words: Tom Pinnock
Pic: Sonia Melot