Arriving in Port After a 5 Year Long Journey

Port of Morrow by The Shins

Port of Morrow by The Shins (2012)

With the one year anniversary of this album’s release coming up, I thought I’d give a review. At first listen, I wasn’t sure if I liked this album as much as I enjoyed Wincing the Night Away (2007). This album seemed to have less edginess from previous albums despite having a more polished sound. With that said, there are some great tracks. Some are great because they sound like earlier Shins’ works and some are great because they show how the group has changed. After a five year hiatus, I think it’s a good thing this album simply isn’t an extension of their previous albums.

The tracks that immediately stood out were “No Way Down,” “The Rifle’s Spiral,” “Simple Song,” and “Bait and Switch.” “Bait and Switch,” with its surfer rock style, and “September” let me know I was listening to the Shins. “The Rifle’s Spiral” and the powerful “Simple Song” have great beats but were it not for James Mercer’s distinctive voice, I’d be pressed to say it was the Shins. Even more funny is the chorus of “40 Mark Strasse” resembles “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates to me; and “Life of Illusion” by Joe Walsh was playing in my head during “Fall of ’82.” In the end, I think the album is a good buy even though it may not turn out to be an instant classic. I still prefer Wincing the Night Away to this album, but that could be attributed to the fact I’ve listened to it much more. Hopefully they won’t make us wait another five years for the next album.

View Port of Morrow on Amazon.

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I Was Looking for a Change

The Reminder by Feist

The Reminder by Feist (2007)

I bought this album some time ago as a change of pace to what I had been listening and perhaps to broaden my range. I was trying to step away from the electronic and fast-paced rock-style albums.  The Reminder is similar to the works of artists like Adele and Sondre Lerche. The album is a nice balance of fast-paced and slow songs with each track having a coherent, yet distinctive, sound. Many of the tracks rely on the soft sounds of the acoustic guitar and piano accompanied by Feist’s breathy, yet fierce vocals to portray a sense of longing, love, vulnerability, and strength.

My favorite track on this album is the duet “How My Heart Behaves” with Eirik Glambek Bøe. A close second is “The Limit to Your Love.” “The Water” is a somber track which sounds endlessly deep, as if you could drown in it. “Sealion” is based on an American folk and children’s playground song; it is quite upbeat and catchy as it describes a less than reputable woman. There really aren’t any tracks on this album I hate or find unsatisfactory; in fact, despite being an older album I think it still holds up to current trends.

View The Reminder on Amazon.