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CD Review – The Shins “Chutes Too Narrow”

The Shins
Chutes Too Narrow
Sub Pop

Earlier this semester, The Oracle listed Chutes Too Narrow as one of the most anticipated albums of the fall. Fans who eagerly awaited the arrival of this album won’t be disappointed.

The record portrays everything music fans love about The Shins and then some. The group’s ’60s-style indie pop has garnered the quartet plenty of critical acclaim. With only one previous full-length, 2001’s Oh, Inverted World, The Shins have already showed they have what it takes to leave an impression on modern music.

Chutes, which was recorded in lead singer James Mercer’s basement, is comprised of slow, soft songs and faster songs that really rock. The record leaves a lasting impression of The Shins’ talent, mixing the group’s lyrical prowess with its ability to jam.

It is refreshing to hear one of the foremost uplifting indie bands raising the bar for independent music. Here, The Shins have made an album that can be enjoyed by all music fans.

The record opens with “Kissing the Lipless,” a song full of emotion and energy that foreshadows the excellence of the album as a whole. It begins with a slow guitar rhythm and elevates into a lovely musical composition.

“So Says I” is a catchy tune that could easily get stuck in one’s head. The song is bouncy, cheery and mellow all at once and the melody sounds like something written by an British Invasion era pop band.

“Fighting in a Sack” is the song on the album. Its fast-paced melody and flowing lyrics bring diversity to the record. The harmonica is an added touch, making this one of the most phenomenal and innovative tunes on the record.

Country-music influences come into play on the song “Gone For Good.” The guitars are twangy, but the song goes well with the rest of the tracks on the project.

“Those to Come” brings a perfect close to Chutes. It is the album’s quietest track, and evokes a “lights out” type of feeling.

One disappointing thing about the album is its short length. The record has 10 songs on it, and each one has a playing time in the vicinity of three minutes.

With Chutes, The Shins have produced a creative blend of music, combining influences of all sorts into the record’s melodies. This sophomore release demonstrates that independent music has a bright future, just as long as bands like The Shins continue to impress audiences with lively sounds and magnificent melodies.