The Shins will release their second album, Chutes too
Narrow, on October 21st.
For the follow-up to 2001’s Oh, Inverted World, the
Albuquerque, New Mexico, four-piece stuck with a proven method: It
recorded in singer James Mercer’s Portland, Oregon, basement. “I
live in a rough neighborhood,” he says. “The basement isn’t
pleasant, but it only costs sixty bucks to buy deadbolts for the
doors. It was cheaper than a real studio.”
Mercer’s favorite new songs are “Kissing the Lipless,” which he
says “starts out with these jerky hits on the guitar that sounds
like Wire or something and then it goes into this sort of heavy
drum space thing that reminds me of My Bloody Valentine,” and the
softer, acoustic “Pink Bullets.”
Having cut ties with a bad relationship and a bad job, Mercer
says his songwriting reflects a broader perspective as a result.
“We have better stuff,” he says. “My frame of mind has changed, but
it has nothing to do with the band. It seemed like I wanted to
change everything in my life I wanted to change. Now I’m a lot
happier. I wrote about sad stuff, but I also wrote silly pop
The band also scored a minor claim to fame this summer when
Shins keyboardist Marty Crandall’s girlfriend, Elyse Sewell, won
third prize on America’s Next Top Model. “She wore three
different Shins T-shirts on the show,” says Mercer.