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25 Reviews
5 star:
 (21)
4 star:
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grower...a truly brilliant grower!
The hype surrounding this band is huge, and I have to admit that I didn't really understand why when I first listened to them. The music is so subtle, the melodies are so original that on first listen the sheer brilliance of this album passed me by. It was only after about a month of listening to it that I realised how deep it had worked its way into my brain. The playing...
Published on 4 Jun 2006 by Minato

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Competent, neither good or bad, mellow soft rock that fails to excite
This review comes from an internet game. You buy an album you've never heard of from a shop. Then you write your impression of it before and after listening to it for the first time.

---BEFORE LISTENING TO IT---

WHY DID YOU SELECT THIS ONE? I think this is the album that gets a big plug as life changing music in Zach Braff's Garden State (2004) film...
Published 14 months ago by BS on parade


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Follow-up, 23 April 2008
By 
K. R. Donnan "Kieran Donnan" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
This album with all its vibrant colour and form, with James Mercer's wonderful voice and moments jumping from gentle to outright hedonistic and flagrant is so very different to Oh, Inverted World. Its openness, its lyrical content, and the wild and exciting turn it takes from their debut is enough to ensure repeated listens. Intelligent, thoughtful yet youthful and carefree at the same time this album is a bundle of good things and I would urge anyone who hasn't listened to take a moment to listen. This is their most exceptional release so far (and I consider their latest release into the calculation) and at least for moments as incomparable as Gone for Good, an acoustic piece written about waiting around then moving on- for good, it is such a worthwhile visit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why wait for a UK release, this is too good!, 6 Feb 2004
By 
Mr. Graham Colebeck "gcolebeck" (Bournemouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
what a gem this is, The Shins have produced a beautiful album for our pleasure (think Shame About Ray by the Lemonheads, Jellyfish's first or even Chemicrazy by That Petrol Emotion) - - just showing how wonderful music can be when people really care about it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars indescribable, 16 Mar 2008
By 
John (Merseyside UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
The adjectives required to describe this album simply don't exist. To award five stars is an insult. I have never heard anything like it in the 48 years of my existence. Absolute perfection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wet Grass and Foreign Flowers, 25 Feb 2005
By 
johnny t99 (Epping Green, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
I can't remember being quite so moved by a record for some time.
A potential buyer should not be put off by this record's modest length - it contains absolutely no filler and not one second is wasted. A genuine example of less equalling more.
The melody of each song is entrancing, the vocals fragile but beautifully phrased; when you hear on Pink Bullets, "...the scent of your skin in some foreign flowers", I swear you can smell them for yourself!
Yet too, the album packs a real punch, sympathetically produced, but never over-produced.
Ultimately, the quality of the songwriting, the playing, the sound, the melodies, the slightly vulnerable but totally unsentimental vocal, some highly unusual chord sequences - all coalesce to create an album of compelling beauty.
Make no mistake, this lot should be huge. As for me I can't wait for their next 33 minute offering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, 22 Jan 2005
By 
E. R. Wilding (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
The cover of the album can sum up the content of the disk. The recording is bright, colourful and intriguing.
It would seem as though the music has a lot of influences. There are a lot of great memorable pieces and fluctuations to keep the listener interested.
The lyrics are also interesting and they stick to your brain.
It has been a pleasure to here the work on this album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rewards so wide!, 8 April 2013
By 
A. Greenwood "Music Mad" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (MP3 Download)
Waned to get my hands on some of the earlier work by this great band for a while now, having discovered these guys through the Port of Morrow album. I'd had a cursory listen but finally took the plunge with this one & was not disappointed!! Sensational. Unlike P of M which had some glorious moments there isn't a single week track here - all original and stunning in their own right! You would enjoy it if you like your music on the subtle thoughtful side or if you are a bit of an old folkie, like me!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shiny, energetic, irresistible, unique, 15 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
I bought this album when it was first released, and it never left my CD player for over a year. About six years later and I'm still playing it at least once a week. In my opinion it is the best of the three albums they have released so far, which is not in any way a criticism of the other two, which I love also. In addition to the inventive melodies and lyrics, Shins' songs have a direction, both musically as well as lyrically. Hence their only limited reliance on the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus format: not much of the repeating of this four chords followed by the repeating of another similar four chords. However, their songs often DO have clear sections within that could be described as verses and choruses, it's just that they are not such things in the typcial pop way. Their songs effortlessly develop, unfold, and take the listener on a journey. For me the result is utterly captivating, their songs permanently lodging under the skin. I can't point to any real weaknesses with this album, and likewise no obvious clear stand-out moment either (but possibly perhaps Saint Simon). The whole album is just very consistently engaging, and is in my all-time top ten.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They're still not famous?! I've lost faith in the world, 16 Oct 2004
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
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.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 8 Jan 2007
This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
When I first heard The Shins I was put off slightly by their unusual style, but it took me no time at all to grow to love this album. The first five tracks in particular are fantastic. A wonderful mixture of upbeat songs and tuneful melodies.

As has been pointed out already, the lyrics are very strange. However, this isn't just the result of using bizarre metaphors for effect as I original presumed. When I got the time to read the lyrics I realised just how clever they are. Saint Simon and So Says I are my favourites. Both have fantastic lyrics.

Anyone who can put Thomas More in their lyrics is worthy of praise.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good album but lets not get carried away, 11 Jun 2004
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chutes Too Narrow (Audio CD)
So it would appear to be my job to play devils advocate to a certain degree anyway. Every other review on this page has lauded this album to the high heavens and while I agree that it does contain some wonderful songs and moments of transcendental beauty its not a five star album, for that virtually every song has to be worthy of note in some way and too many songs on "Chutes too Narrow" are mundane indie by numbers. This band reminds me a lot of Shudder to Think, another group with a penchant for mercurial guitars and plaintive high vocals. One of the problems I have with The Shins is that James Mercers vocals can sound a little strained, that's not necessarily a bad thing but when your vocals are as falsetto as his to start with...... On "So Says You" he comes a little too close to Darkness territory than is healthy. While "Saint Simon" has some pleasant buoyant strings and mellifluous backing vocals the strident lead vocals let it down. "Fighting in a Sack" is the sort of grey moribund drizzle that bands like Thousand Yard Stare made a career of.
However when they do get it right, and they get it right more often than not on this album, and when they add some esoteric element to their basic sound and take the hysteric edge off Mercers vocals then you can understand why everyone else has got excited about this band. "Mines not a High Horse" benefits from a wonderfully spooky Moog and plangent melody. "Kissing the Lipless" is a well constructed if otherwise unremarkable song lacking a killer hook line or vivacious melodic punch..A Single lovely concordant guitar carry's "Young Pilgrim" backed by a breezily strummed acoustic and a poised vocal from Mercer. "Pink Bullets" is a replica track but even better, with a gorgeous dulcet tune and wonderful lachrymose lyrics. The restrained organ backing and brief harmonica add an extra layer of keening ardour. "Turn a Square" mutates it's choppy rhythmic verse into a sky scraping chorus while "Gone for Good" revels in wonderful silvery pedal steel. The superb acquiescent ballad "Those to Come" closes the album in a shiver of carefully plucked guitar notes and phased out keyboards.
This band definitely has a five star album in them. It may even be their debut "Oh Inverted world" which I have never heard but which I would very much like to. But this isn't it. But for anyone considering checking them out I would still recommend it highly as there is enough startlingly good music in " Chutes Too Narrow" to make it rewarding listening. Narrow or not it's worth taking the ride.
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Chutes Too Narrow
Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins (Audio CD - 2009)
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