The Shins, Corn Exchange, 23 August

** 

Now that ‘indie’ music has jostled its skinny frame firmly into the pop charts, the term itself has lost all meaning. But if any of the old strain survives, it is to be found in the music of The Shins. The Portland band ooze indie-ness through every jangly riff, Californian harmony and oblique lyric. And as such, they attract the cream of east central Scotland’s genteel, musically-hip community; carefully-dishevelled hair, polite conversation, drainpipe jeans and Sonic Youth t-shirts reign supreme. The gig starts well with Sleeping Lessons, a perfect crescendo-opener from latest album Wincing the Night Away. Australia is equally captivating, although the song’s gorgeous harmonies morph indisticntly in the gaping hall. This is a theme of the night: good songs, wrong setting. They’d sound much better in a smaller venue or a sunny festival field. Fan favourites from Chutes Too Narrow and a so-so Pink Floyd cover fail to add any buzz to a distinctly lacklustre occasion, and the subdued scenesters exit to form an orderly queue for their bus back to town.

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