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Chutess Too Narrow

Shins Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)

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The Shins' sophomore album is a joy from start to finish, though it's rather different from their 2001 leftfield pop genius stunner Oh, Inverted World. That album was like a warm embrace from a long-lost pal. True to its title, all of the songs were of a piece, seeming to inhabit one landscape, with an invitingly similar sound throughout. Chutes is more far-reaching and decidedly eclectic. Each song is essentially its own genre exercise. There's singer-songwriter James Mercer's surprisingly Perry Farrell-ish wail on the almost indie-metal opener, "Kissing the Lipless"; the lovely pedal steel lilt to "Gone for Good"; the moody folktronica of "Those to Come"; and the Cars-gone-rockabilly riffing on "Turn a Square." The strongest song, the acoustic "Young Pilgrims," is stripped-down and brilliant. On every tune, Mercer packs more hooks and melodic invention than most bands do on one album. As a whole, it's an even better record than Inverted World. --Mike McGonigal

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Japanese Version featuring a Bonus Track

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Can You Doubt Padme? Oct. 30 2005
Format:Audio CD
An acoustic driven album from the New Mexico quartet, Chutes Too Narrow sees The Shins maturing to a full on experience. As opposed to the sociopathic delivery and ultimate misrepresentation of false emotions and hypothetical situations by groups like The Darkness, Jet, and The Kings Of Leon, James Mercer has more invested in his lyrics. Just as catchy and easy to listen to, it sounds like more work went into this production specifically the careful studio touches and craftsmanship in each track. No doubt they're stuck in the post-Beatles sixties, but they manage to create a sound that's their own, even more so than the like minds of Apples In Stereo, while others seem content in merely changing a few chords of selected rock classics and calling them influences instead of the inspiration, creative force, and original sources they really are. Ah, the slowly dissolving difference between influence and plagiarism ... welcome to the Xerox Generation, ladies and gentleman. Sure, their lyrics may never have been put together in that particular order before but, as any true music aficionado will tell you, it wasn't just the lyrics Robert Plant sang that made him great but how he sang them and The Shins have that, lets call it, soul. They're no fly-by-night fad but a band invested in themselves regardless of us throwing joints and knickers at them, although I'm sure they appreciate it. They'll be here long after Jet and Justin Hawkins have been Posh-ed into retirement to live out their days swimming in their piles of ill-got cash and appearing on "Thought They Were Dead" television specials. Even if you don't like The Shins' psychedelic revival, happy, floaty with a touch of melancholy music, you have to respect the effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is really, really good July 19 2004
Format:Audio CD
Ok, when I picked this cd up, I knew absolutely nothing about it. It's possible that I'd read a review for it in Rolling Stone, but the point is that I bought this cd on vague curiosity alone. If vague curiosity has ever been rewarded, it was that day.
If I had to choose a genre in which to place this album, I'd have to think about it for a long time and then throw up my hands and say "the really good music genre." Each song seems to have some kind of formula -- there's always an acoustic guitar, and almost always some drums, and every once in a while a new instrument will make a cameo. Other than that, every song is easily discernable from the others on the album, somewhat of a rarity in my experience.
The real treat here is James Mercer's lyricism, which does a brilliant job of not only providing each song with its own mood and story, but also serving the song as an instrument in itself -- the sounds of the words he sings are just important to the song as the pitch of Mercer's voice.
All in all, Chutes Too Narrow is an excellent cd that exceeds all expectations -- it did for me, anyway.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best album i've bought since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot July 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I can't even describe how great this album is. You just have to buy it, put it in your CD player, and be blown away - just like I was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite July 18 2004
Format:Audio CD
I was skeptical about this band at first but have grown to love this album. There is not a single song that I don't like. The lyrics are excellent and the tunes are very catchy, yet not too popish. I can't understand where people are coming from who write bad reviews for this CD, and usually when I buy a CD I can see the jist of both the good and bad.
Sure these type of songs have been done before, but the way that they're done make the best set of tracks I've heard in a while, and it still sounds fresh even if it sounds familiar. It is a very fun album to listen to, especially after the second or third time. Like I said there is not a single bad track on the album. I would give it 4-1/2 stars though for being so short (which disappointed me the first time). What is better though, short and sweet or long and boring?
I won't name any bands but I have bought a series of bad CDs in 2004 from major artists and then this one from a previously unknown band (at least to me) finally broke the string. It's refreshing, to say the least, and has renewed my faith in modern music. Maybe that's saying too much but I honestly think it deserves it and is not overhyped.
Who should avoid buying this album? People who don't like independent bands that explore different genres, don't like catchy tunes, or people who simply hate the SUB-POP label and everything it stands for.
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4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful July 16 2004
Format:Audio CD
This album is definitely a great follow-up to "Oh, Inverted World." The songs show versatility and emotion, which really grabs me. There's nothing I hate more than buying a cd that has the same song over and over again and NO heart in it. If you liked their last album, this one should do right by you as well. The single "So Says I" is definitely a good strong track, but if you're like me, you'll find that the real jewels of this particular album come from the softer songs with the twangy guitars and heart-felt lyrics. The last track really had to grow on me, but I promise anyone who's a lyric fanatic, each and every song on this cd has fabulous lyrical content. I would encourage people to take the time to explore it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sorry about the confusion July 16 2004
Format:Audio CD
this fecund band has released a cool album, it rocks my socks.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Shins Album
If you're going to own one of their albums, this is the one to own. I am happy to have added it to my collection.
Published 13 months ago by nes
2.0 out of 5 stars Derivative
Pop? Yes. Very much so, very accomplished and well rounded. But original? Not a chance. Belle and Sebastion anyone? Among others, whom the Shins wear on their sleeves.
Published on July 1 2006 by Holla b'ogn
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars For a Good Cd
Ok. I just wrote a review for the new Polyphonic Spree cd. go check it out. But anyways its The Shins I should be talking about, so here we go. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by PolyphonicMusicGuy
2.0 out of 5 stars They could do a lot better
I loved the first album... it was so raw, so rewarding... it had a fight to it--you could hear it in the singer's voice. Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by Walter C. Bornemeier
5.0 out of 5 stars greatest album of this century (thus far)
randomly browsing around for music, i stumbled upon a little group called the shins. after reading outstanding reviews about their new album i decided to go out and buy it. Read more
Published on July 9 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Mazing.
I don't know what drew me to buy this cd. I bought it before Oh, Inverted World, and I bought it before I even heard one song on the CD. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Erica
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the coolest things I've heard in awhile
This cd is unlike anything I've heard in awhile, and I think it's genius. Every song on the cd has a different sound, from the jane's addiction-y opener "kissing the... Read more
Published on July 6 2004
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