Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins (2003)

13Apr11

If you love wuss rock, you love The Shins. They make great music that is both relaxing and complex…and quite frankly, what more could a hipster ask for? Plus, you don’t have to fear getting your ass kicked at a Shins show. They carved their way into the hearts of music nerds everywhere at the turn of the century with the classic Oh, Inverted World album. If you saw the movie Garden State, you basically heard that entire record. So after setting the bar unattainably high for themselves, The Shins met or exceeded all expectations with 2003’s Chutes Too Narrow.

It’s a tight, consistent record that doesn’t have many “singles” to latch onto. Press Play and relax. I love the third track ‘So Says I’ and its what-the-Beatles-might-have-sounded-like-in-the-70s kind of sound. In fact, the Beatles are a very obvious influence throughout, as the lyrics take front stage and the band invisibly fills in the appropriate minimal instrumentation. Check out what I mean on ‘Saint Simon’, where it would be easy to hear James Mercer’s vocals and miss the musical masterpiece going on in the background. Quite Beatles-esque, no? I’m not calling The Shins a modern day Beatles, but in terms of band structure, creativity and delivery there are a ton of comparisons to be made.

‘Fighting in a Sack’ keeps the tempo from getting too slow, and keeps that classic rock band image going. Although this isn’t the “best” song on the record, it would probably be a good representative if you wanted to market Chutes Too Narrow to rock fans. Let’s face it…without fully diving into a record like this, a casual fan just might miss the standout ballad ‘Pink Bullets’ and decide not to buy the album. You gotta love instrumental highlights like the pedal steel on ‘Gone For Good’, and when ‘Kissing the Lipless’ keeps it real with hand claps and xylophone.

The Shins are the kind of band that other musicians obsess over, and that says a lot. Takes one to know one. If you’re looking for relaxing rock music of high quality, just buy their whole catalog. If you want to catch them at their best, start with Chutes Too Narrow, then fill in the before-and-after once you’ve fallen in love with their sound.

music turtle recommends: DOWNLOAD IT!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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One Response to “Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins (2003)”

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