Chutes Too Narrow (20th Anniversary Remaster)
Label: Sub Pop
Catalog #: 71570
Remastered by Adam Ayan, under the watchful eye of the band’s prime mover/singer-songwriter James Mercer, this special release features a lovely new, custom die-cut cover for the CD and vinyl formats of the album.
Chutes Too Narrow, the heavily anticipated follow-up to The Shins’ beloved debut, Oh, Inverted World, was recorded in James Mercer’s basement home studio, with later mixing at Seattle’s Avast! Recording Co. with assistance from Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, David Cross, Les Savy Fav, etc.). With ten songs clocking in at just over 30 minutes, the record is a brief yet scintillating glimpse at chiming, reflective, and perfectly skewed pop innovation.
Chutes Too Narrow was released to widespread acclaim in 2003, garnering Pitchfork’s “Best New Music,” four stars from Rolling Stone, and raves from the New York Times, MOJO, the Village Voice, and SPIN. It subsequently made best-of-the-decade lists from The AV Club, NME, Paste, Pitchfork, and Uncut.
Mercer says of Chutes Too Narrow, “I was very aware at the time that I had struck gold with the first record, and it was unlikely to happen again. “Sophomore slump” and all that. The pressure to prove myself as a viable writer had never been so pronounced. Midway through the mixing process, I realized one of the songs would not work, so I stayed up after everyone went to bed and wrote ‘Young Pilgrims.’ And with Ek’s help, it worked! Such a stressful but beautiful experience!”