By Shins

The Shins: James Mercer (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Marty Crandall (keyboards); Dave Hernandez (bass); Jesse Sandoval (drums).
Additional personnel: Kevin Suggs (pedal steel guitar); Annemarie Ruljiancich (violin).
Recorded in James Mercer's Basement, Portland, Oregon and Avasti Studio, Seattle, Washington.
When the Shins bowled over music fans and critics alike in 2001 seemingly out of nowhere (but actually out of Albuquerque and years of playing together) with OH, INVERTED WORLD, their stunningly beautiful debut, the comparisons came pouring in. Scribes likened their insistent, melodic sound and James Mercer's hyper-literate, oblique but mellifluous lyrics to many mostly anachronistic, all deeply revered sources, including everything from the Beach Boys to Love.
The follow-up, CHUTES TOO NARROW, meets and often manages to exceed the tremendous, burgeoning buzz surrounding it. Mercer and co. retain all the elements that made their debut delectable, as the melodies flow hither and thither, a subtle rapture confident in its ability to entrance. Delicately crafted yet explosively poetic lines again abound (such as "secretly I want to bury in the yard the grey remains of a friendship scarred"), and by the time the sing-a-long of "So Says I" kicks in, the die is cast. Nestled near the end of the consistently captivating record is the countrified should-be classic "Gone for Good." With its riding-the-rails beat and irrefutable lyrical hook, it seems to sum up the pensive feel of the whole record, "I find a fatal flaw in the logic of love and go out of my head." Such ponderous musings rarely ever sounded so good.

  • Format: Vinyl
  • Genre: Pop