Sophomore Album Due From The Shins
Chutes Too Narrow, the sophomore release from Albuquerque, New Mexico's The Shins, will arrive Oct. 21 on Sub Pop. This much-anticipated CD is the follow-up to the group's acclaimed 2001 debut, Oh, Inverted World.
The new 10-song album which showcases the band's indie power-pop sound was recorded in frontman James Mercer's basement in Portland, Ore., and at Seattle's Avast Studios with help from Phil Ek (who has produced all of Built to Spill's albums).
Chutes Too Narrow is an amped-up version of Oh, Inverted World, with the production taking a backseat to let the rough-hewn edges of the songs shine through. Mercer has tamed his falsetto for the sweet sing-along of "Saint Simon" and the twangy "Pink Bullets." But this is mainly an album of tightly energetic songs that either pound beats ("Turn a Square") or play off quieter Inverted-style sounds before rocking out ("Kissing the Lipless").
The Shins were formed by Mercer and drummer Jessie Sandoval in 1997 as a side project; their primary band at the time was Flake Music, who released one album, 1997's When You Land Here, It's Time to Return. The band went through various members before settling on the Flake Music lineup of Mercer (guitar, vocals), Sandoval (drums), Marty Crandall (keyboards) and Neal Langford (bass).
While tipping their hats to such indie favorites as Apples in Stereo, Modest Mouse, Guided by Voices and even the Beach Boys, the foursome managed to create a sound of their own. Mercer formed Flake in 1992, but changed the name to Flake Music, probably to avoid confusion with Seattle's Flake, and over the course of the past 10 years they've recorded a slew of singles and EPs. Whether in the dreamlike sounds of the song "Whoa Trish!" (used in a GAP ad) or the indie pop of "Pressed in a Book" (off Oh, Inverted World), The Shins aren't afraid to rock it out, sensitive style.
Track Listing for Chutes Too Narrow,: "Kissing the Lipless," "Mine's Not a High Horse," "So Says I," "Young Pilgrims," "Saint Simon," "Fighting in a Sack," "Pink Bullets," "Turn a Square," "A Call to Apathy" and "Those to Come."
The Shins kicked off an 18-city tour of the U.S. on August 29th at Memorial Stadium in Seattle as part of this year's Bumbershoot Festival. The tour includes three nights at New York's Bowery Ballroom (Sept. 2-4), as well as shows in Austin, L.A., Denver and Albuquerque. Tour dates can be found at the Sub Pop site. Rebekah J. Zietz and Kate Guay [Monday, Sept. 1, 2003]