The Shins - Port of Morrow album review

The Shins

After almost five years, The Shins have come back yet again to release their latest album “Port of Morrow.” This album brings a new age sound to The Shins’ nostalgic quality that has previously become entwined in each of their songs.

“Simple Song” has become the most successful song to date from the album’s release on March 20. The song is reminiscent of “Turn on Me” from the band’s 2007 album “Wincing the Night Away,” showing that listeners still crave that original upbeat sound from The Shins.

Thankfully, James Mercer didn’t totally detach the band from its origins; he simply added a pop twist to their formerly acoustic mindset. It’s hard to devote yourself fully to the album when passively listening on the walk to school or when driving in the car, but upon taking the time to become acquainted with the lyrical creativeness of “Port of Morrow,” it’s hard not to invest a piece of yourself into this album.

Mercer has always carried a sense of metaphorical story telling in his song writing that is apparent in each song that The Shins has released in their albums. “Port of Morrow” retains this facet, but in an organized fashion.

The albums bonus track “Pariah King” best embodies this notion of new age sound combined with The Shins’ highly symbolic lyric. The song’s chorus is carried out by a few simple piano chords and a basic drum beat that perfectly accompany Mercer’s lyric “you feel done, then it breaks down”. Mercer eloquently and simply states the theme of the album in its only life singing that “we all spend a little while going down the rabbit hole”. This album shows all sides of life; the good, the bad and the ugly from a standpoint that it is only life and we’ve only got one to live.

Mercer began a project with Danger Mouse’s Brian Burton in 2009 that successfully became Broken Bells in late 2010. Part of The Shins clarity and simplicity of sound in “Port of Morrow” is thanks to James Mercer’s reconstruction of the band and collaboration with Modest Mouse’s drummer Joe Plummer as well as Yuuki Matthews of the Crystal Skulls and Jessica Dobson. Modest Mouse’s influence on The Shins is clear in the aesthetic and consistent nature of each song that seem to keep the album moving along at an enjoyable pace.

Lead singer James Mercer offers crisper, clearer lyrics than in previous albums without compromising The Shins’ uniqueness that has made them famous as a band. These new members have clearly impacted and contributed to the creativity and structure that James Mercer has put into Port of Morrow.

The Shins

“Port of Morrow”

Genre: Indie

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