CD: The Shins, Chutes Too Narrow

(Sub Pop)

Hailed in some quarters as the saviours of US indie rock, this New Mexico quartet play uplifting melodic pop that should find favour much further around the globe. The follow-up to 2002's excellent Oh, Inverted World finds Albuquerque's finest further mining their own private bittersweet seam, kicking off with the pop turbulence of Kissing the Lipless and absurdly joyous Mine's Not a High Horse, before reaching another career peak with the dizzying exuberance of So Says I.

Although downbeat self-deprecation lurks in lines like "Left my home just to whine in this microphone," and there's a certain small-town romance vibe throughout, they're not averse to surprises. Saint Simon takes an American tourist to the Kinks' Muswell Hill. The rollercoasting Fighting in a Sack wrestles manfully with Dylan's harmonica. Most affectingly, the faintly disturbing acoustic Those to Come belies any suspicion that the Shins can only do happy or soppy.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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