Preciousness is a rare commodity in the land of Rock music, everyone tries hard to be cool and worldly to the point it can become studied and forced. On top of that, being precious is not the most macho thing to do...but when it's done right it can have the light and airy effect of say Angel food cake (Mmmm...Angel Food Cake). And that chief component makes up the entry at Number 32 in my countdown-
Number 32 - The Shins Chutes Too Narrow (2003)
I started hearing about this band due to the sizeable buzz they received from the movie Garden State and the resulting marketing push to everywhere I shopped. While I won't bother to repeat the famous Natalie Portman line, I would listen to their CD at listening headphones in various stores and was impressed with what I heard. After seeing the video for "Pink Bullets" on the internet, I was sold. Besides, Queen Amidala told me to like them. And if you can't trust the taste of a teenage space queen with enough bad judgement to marry a mass murdering Jedi Knight, then who can you trust?
The Shins sound is like a clash of Love style vocals, indie post punk and winsome melodies. It shouldn't work, but it does and very well. Every track is a winner yet its hard to pick individual tracks because the songs blend well together to create a whole experience as a full album. The quiet "Pink Bullets" was the first song to catch my ear with its acoustic beauty. A sense of restless energy hits the opener "Kissing The Lipless" and "Fighting In A Sack". Even a bit of Country gets thrown in on "Gone For Good" to strong measure.
Overly literate lyrics adds to the fun and almost internal dialogue mood to Chutes Too Narrow. The precious atmosphere of a band exploring sonic textures without boundaries is palpable,a mood that evaporated on the pleasant but less affecting follow-up Wincing The Night Away (2007). It's hard to be precious when every second of making an album is videoed, interviewed and dissected for months on end.
But on Chutes Too Narrow everything was golden and the band presented an aural equivalent to Strawberries in Whipped Cream on top of Angel Food Cake. The Force is strong with this one.
The Shins "Pink Bullets"