The Shins: Kissing The Lipless

The Shins
"Kissing The Lipless"

Why is it that I can't stand The Beach Boys, but many bands that remind me (and others) of them, don't sound half bad? The Shins are one of these bands. Maybe there is or was just too much going on in the mind of head Beach Boy Brian Wilson - and it's all there in the recordings. It's possible that I would like Beach Boy songs if they were cut back a bit, diluted by a more common touch.

Now 'Kissing the Lipless' isn't common or ordinary, it has the talents of James Mercer crafting a tale of '... friendship scarred' of '... kissing the lipless, who bleed all the sweetness away'. Now that I've gone and brought up The Beach Boys, this song is now bringing to mind Big Star - Mercer's vocal soaring like Alex Chilton on the line 'You told us of your new life there...'. Also kind of Ben Gibbard-like, vocally i mean, without Gibbard's drowsier aspect - well, at least compared to Mercer. In relation to The Postal Service's Gibbard, he sounds like he just ate a one pound bag of Columbian coffee beans. And now there he is, Mercer, up on a pop song tightrope, the band supporting him like the wire and his voice the pole balancing his every step... toward song's too soon end.

Alan Williamson
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