Sound — 6
Indie purists don't have too much to get excited about these days. Lots of moderately interesting debut albums have come out recently, but todays indie generation lacks a flagship to lead the way. We don't have a replacement Pavement, basically. With Modest Mouse wading into the mainstream (and liz phair hopelessly drowning in it), guided by voices breaking up come august, and Doug Martsch's Salinger-esque reclusivism (C'mon, doug, lets have a tour or a new built to spill album or something) our wonderful movement lacks direction.
Lyrics — 8
In come the Shins. After being berated for lisencing a song for a McDonalds commerical, the shins struck back with a poppy, enjoyable second album, and they, not interpol or franz ferdinand, are the band who is giving me the most hope for the future of indie rock. With a little bit more edge, they could easily become the missling ling between Pavement and, I dunno, R.E.M.
Overall Impression — 6
That said, the songs on this record are not phenomenal. the progressions are catchy and the lyrics are often riddled with dry humor, but the album is not wholly engaging. "So Says I" is only a 2:47 long song, but it seems to lumber on without ever stopping. There are a few gems here, though. (If there weren't, I would not count on these guys to breathe life into my favorite genre) "Young Pilgrims" is the superior song lyrically, and "Saint Simon" becomes more beautiful after every listen. They also have great song titles! ("Kissing the Lipless", "Mine's not a high horse"). In conclusion, Chutes too narrow is a mostly pleasurable listen as well as a very promising second album.