Number: Sub-Pop 625 CD / Sub-Pop 625 LP
Okay, so it took the Shins almost two and a half years to release a follow-up to their wonderfully fresh debut, Oh, Inverted World, but the wait was worth it. Chutes Too Narrow continues where the quartet from New Mexico left off with its Syd Barrett, Beach Boys, XTC-inspired art/indie rock. The Shins have figured out how to borrow from the '60s without sounding too self-indulgent and lead singer, James Mercer, has the uncanny ability to sound like a young Brian Wilson.
Chutes Too Narrow isn't quite as accessible as Oh, Inverted World, but its surrealistic lyrics and cosmic sound reminds one of the acid-inspired rock of the late-1960s - a decent, yet way too short escape from the scary reality that we now live in. The Shins' blend melancholy and bittersweet sentiment into most of the tracks, but unlike Radiohead, don't allow it to overtake the music and make "them" the primary focus. Both the LP and CD have above average sonics with clean vocals and a nicely detailed and spacious sound. Brtiney Who?
Sound Quality: 85