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.