The Shins Chutes Too NarrowHere’s a clip of the Shins performing their song “Saint Simon”, as taken from their celebrated 2003 Chutes Too Narrow album.

These guys gained some exposure from the film Garden State, which contained the line “the Shins will change your life”. And where they don’t necessarily create a revolutionary sound as that line might suggest, they certainly do what has been done before extremely well.

To my ears, they’re pulling from some of the touchstones of classic guitar pop as forged in the 60s – a bit of the Beatles, the Kinks, and the pre-Beggar’s Banquet Stones. Yet they’ve cast it in such a way that it doesn’t sound as if they’re trying to sound like anyone. This might have something to do with the fact that writer and vocalist James Mercer seems to work hardest in the area of lyrics, with words dodging and diving here and there between the lines of melody like Olympic figure skaters across freshly Zambonied ice. The touches of harmony and almost baroque textures on this song in particular made the album a big favourite with critics, and with fans like myself.


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