The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow

Mike Mantin 21/04/2004

Rating: 5/5

Emerging with 2001's fabulous but largely ignored 'Oh, Inverted World', The Shins look set to have their first dose of fame. Chutes Too Narrow is exactly what both the charts and indie kids need: sunny pop-rock music with an edge that sets them aside from the pleasant but rather derivative bunch currently on offer. They know how to craft a tune: joyful works such as Kissing The Lipless, So Says I and Saint Simon penetrate the heart further than any 'new' band you've heard so far this year (or possibly will do this year).

The lyrics are effectively baffling ("Just a glimpse of an ankle and I react like it's 1805"), but it's the simple approach and sincerity that gives this album the push that drives its ten incredible songs. Not a second of it is wasted in forcing you into The Shins' world and by the time heartstring-yanking closer Those To Come fades out into oblivion you'll be fast-forwarding back to the start faster than you can say the band's name. An extraordinary record that marvels you in a different, idiosyncratic way with each and every listen.