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Know Your Onion - EP

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Album Review

The Shins 2001's debut, Oh, Inverted World, made a lot of best-of lists by demanding fans' ears, whose reaction to the tiresome glut of indie rock was to grow even more discerning. Separating the wheat from the endless fields of chaff is more and more difficult, but always rewarding when the actual talent presents itself to you, as this LP does right away. And it sure makes it easier when a respected label such as Sub Pop gets back on the supreme melodic bent it was on when they ruled with Sebadoh, Eric Matthews, Jeremy Enigk, and others, just a few years prior. And having digested the many splendid pleasures Oh, Inverted World offers, glomming this four-song EP is a nice stopgap while waiting for more. Its familiar "Know Your Onion" and three B-sides aren't mere collector's fodder. Recorded live at Seattle's Graceland, October 26, 2001, "My Seventh Rib" must have been written too late for the LP sessions, as this insistent, 16th-note- fest reveals the band's forte: it's filled with non-stop energy, deft dynamics, and James Mercer's typically singsong tune that grabs you like an NHL defenseman if you get near the puck. The LP's "New Slang" sounds more plaintive and Kinks-like, and another new tune, "Sphagnum Esplanade," closes matters on a minimal, light note. We want more Shins and we want it now! This just whets the appetite.

Customer Reviews

Makes Me Cry...

Two people once said, but not at the same time, "everybody's clever nowadays" and the fact that The Shins knew an onion well enough to release an EP proves this point beyond the measure of something not entirely measureless. Did you ever see the Flintstones episode where everyone in Bedrock thinks The Way Outs are aliens, only it turns out they're just a British rock band, but when you REALLY think about it they *could* be aliens because when you look close, their bodies are made up of nothing except four white dinner plates with nothing in between to connect them?! Well, I didn't see it either, yet that's exactly what this Shins album reminds me of - and that's not bad.

a good single

People should buy this single for the highly underrated b-side, Sphagnum Esplanade. This song is very unique, but it grew on me. Its an emotional one but by far one of my favorite Shins songs.

Griffin Chanley

This is a good ep by an even better band. It bugs me that a lot of people say that they are true shins fans even though they can't name one song other than "New Slang" or "Kissing the Lippless". Still, I am pretty pleased with this ep. My seventh rib has a new kind of feel to it but still has the Shins signature sound. Sphagnum Esplanade has an Oh, Inverted World kind of depressing mood. Not quite five stars, but still very pleasureable.


Formed: 1997 in Albuquerque, NM

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A classic guitar pop group almost nine years in the making, Albuquerque, New Mexico's the Shins began in 1997 as the side project of singer/songwriter and guitarist James Mercer's primary band, Flake. Mercer formed Flake in 1992 with drummer Jesse Sandoval, keyboardist Marty Crandall, and bassist Neal Langford; they eventually changed their name to Flake Music, releasing several singles, a well-received album, When You Land Here, It's Time to Return, and touring with friends like Modest Mouse and...
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