By Heather Koenig
WTSR Assistant Music Director
The Shins are back for the first time in five years with “Port of Morrow.” Rather than lagging with this album, lead singer James Mercer did not fail loyal fans after his time spent on side project Broken Belles.
“Port of Morrow” involves much collaboration with Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse,
songwriter Greg Kurstin and many others.
The album features much of the classic Shins sound, focused around Mercer’s recognizable voice. However, different musical elements are incorporated and brought into focus.
The song “September” features a tropical beach sound, using bongo drums and electric slide guitar.
The track “Simple Song” is definitely a standout amongst an overall impressive album.
The song features a catchy melody, brief organ intro, strong guitar and lyrics with no ulterior motives — its message about surviving life is direct, honest and, of course, simple.
Overall, “Port of Morrow” contains a sound that is a bit less folk and more rock than the Shin’s previous work but this slight adaption shouldn’t disturb anyone familiar with the band.
The album’s upbeat nature is wound down by the slow paced final tracks “For a Fool,” “40 Marke Strasse” and title track “Port of Morrow.”
Although it’s been a long time coming, “Port of Morrow” was well worth the wait. James Mercer clearly committed a great deal of time and energy to the production and perfection of this solid 10-track album. The final product is a sleek, polished collection that is sure to attract attention from old fans and new listeners.