Once you get past the catchy melodies and bouncing beats, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter James Mercer's lyrics demand attention. Wise without being wise-assed, clever without being cloying, Mercer has a libretto that can turn a good-time romp like "So Says I" or "Fighting in a Sack" into a wordy boogie. While humor informs much of the lyrical content, the chuckles never detract from the sincerity and emotional urgency.
Live, the Shins promise a rollicking good time, tightly orchestrated and joyfully executed. On the roadhouse rocker "Turn a Square," Mercer wonders aloud: "Have I left my home just to whine in this microphone?" Maybe so, but with music this fun, we'll line up around the block to listen.