chutes too narrow
'Chutes Too Narrow''s breezy subtlety is less accessible than the Shins' debut, but that doesn't mean the album lacks great songs.
Indeed, it begins with one of the best songs the Shins have written, 'Kissing the Lipless'. Largely acoustic with an intricate, shifting structure, the song builds up to unpredictable spikes of guitar & an amazing high note, forged out of pain & frustration, from Mercer when he sings "You told us of your new life there." The elaborately lovely, slightly spooky 'Saint Simon' sounds like Nilsson backed by the Left Banke. 'Turn a Square', meanwhile, is one of the album's rockier songs, a tangle of lust and nerves that features the great lyrics "Just a glimpse of an ankle and I/React like it's 1805." Mercer has always been a uniquely witty & affecting songwriter, but the simpler sound of this album really lets his gifts as a lyricist shine through.