In case you haven't noticed, the Shins have become a ubiquitous presence in music, fashion and softcore porn mags across this great nation and all over much of Western Europe. Everyone seems to be echoing the sentiments Burque scenesters began making back when the Shins were known as Flake: something along the lines of, "These guys are destined for greatness." And that's just the path the Shins appear to be on.
In all honesty, I must say that I wasn't as completely blown away by their sophomore Sub Pop effort, Chutes Too Narrow, as I expected to be. But in some ways, the new record is more balanced than Oh, Inverted World, and the band sound more confident than they ever have. Singer/guitarist James Mercer's lyrics continue to blossom with flowery pop poetry that's as impressive as any writing in that vein that's been done in two decades. And from a songcraft perspective, his musical backdrops are subtly complex in that Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson way.
The Shins may well be on their way to becoming national treasures, but it's nice to know that they're still, in some ways, our own personal keepsakes. Despite playing bigger halls more regularly and a recent lineup change, they're still the same band we're all in love with, secretly or not.