The Shins bring their best to
Austin City Limits

What a whirlwind week it’s been here in Austin, TX.  And what better way to end our SXSW experience than with a taping of ACL with The Shins. Their new album Port of Morrow is out tomorrow and the band previewed a half dozen new tunes last night for our ACL fans.

“The Rifle’s Spiral” colored an epic pop tune with keyboardist Richard Swift’s electronic blips and swoops. “September” provided some Shinsized country music – it’s in much the same vein as their older tune “New Slang” (which was also performed).  “It’s Only Life” is a simply a brilliant song. “No Way Down,” “Bait and Switch” and “Simple Song” added a trio of magnificently shiny new pop gems to The Shins’ already stuffed jewel box.

The group rolled out plenty of classics as well, kicking the show off  with “Caring is Creepy,” the first song from their first album. “Australia” (“one of my favorites,” commented singer-songwriter Mercer) and the hit “Phantom Limb” upped the bouncy pop quotient, while “Mine’s Not a High Horse” and “So Says I” mined the band’s loud rock vein. The Shins really pushed themselves on “Kissing the Lipless,” which moved from quite to blasting and back, and “One By One All Day,” which closed out with a psychedelic guitar/pedalboard solo from guitarist Jessica Dobson. The band saved the best for last, bringing the show to a close (barring a redo of “Bait and Switch”) and the crowd to a roar with an amazing “Sleeping Lessons” – as @erinegg commented, “Holy rock n roll!”

This was The Shins second appearance on the ACL stage. (They last appeared in Season 30 in 2004). Perhaps one of our Twitter followers summed it up best:  @TStorm_Warning said: “New Shins is sounding as good as old Shins.”