Something extraordinary is afoot in Albuquerque. The Shins' first big-time record, Oh, Inverted World, combines mysterious narratives with golden song structures, resulting in lavish and opulent indie pop. Touches of Neutral Milk Hotel's lyrical majesty and the nostalgic swirl of Echo and the Bunnymen abound. But the Shins' music--rich with acoustic guitars, flickering rhythms, and Casio-tone keyboards--is distinct and peculiar. Worry mixes with abstraction throughout, and while James Mercer sings, 'You led no celibate life / No skirt while chemicals danced on your head / You stole the keys to this ride / And your fables are falling tonight,' you may wonder if he's been routing through your fondest, most troubling memories. This vital album is easily among 2001's most distinguished recordings and one of the best Sub Pop releases to date.