With its grade-school colors and cartoonish landscapes, the album art for the Shins' second full-length seems cribbed from a game of Candy Land. Was the graphic artist on an ether binge? If so, he may not have been the only one. For much of Chutes, the sloppy-poppy Albuquerque, New Mexico, quartet seems 100 feet high and rising, strumming out '60s-tinged love tunes like a barrel of Monkees with as much ridiculous color as that Partridge Family bus. "Kissing the Lipless" is a smart-alecky acoustic ballad with a screeched-out chorus that revels in its own stridency. "So Says I" is a jumpy raveup that playfully alludes to the medieval author Thomas More. But as the album progresses, a shy sincerity bubbles from beneath the ironic, retro arrangements. When vocalist James Mercer sings, I'll try hard not to pretend/Allow myself no mock defense/As I step into the night (on "Saint Simon"), it sounds like he means it. By the disc's final tracks, the ether-fueled Icarus flight is over, and the lads are crashing hard into the Molasses Swamp of introspection and melancholy, sinking into the pit where Alex Chilton vanished two decades ago.