THE SHINS – PORT OF MORROW
Released 19th March 2012 (Aural Apothecary/Columbia)
Words: Kelly Jones
Port of Morrow is The Shins’ first album in five years, so it’s only natural there’s plenty of excitement for the upcoming release. Known for their mixture of indie and pop, The Shins have built themselves an almost cult fanbase with their mellow sound.
The album itself is one that may take a few listens in order for it to grow; the obvious greater emphasis on electronic side to the album appears to be an interesting development in their sound; don’t expect to find any New Slangs on Port of Morrow. However, it all comes at the risk of alienating their current fans, who have grown fond of the band’s unique sound. Never the less, Port of Morrow is a thorough album, though admittedly at times it fails to show off the best of The Shins and what they can achieve.
There isn’t as such a stand out track from the album, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the album is consistent and solid throughout. Port of Morrow kicks off with the already released ‘Simple Song’. An upbeat track, with strong, clean vocals from lead vocalist James Mercer. The new, slick production values on the album are evident here, though it feels almost as if something is lost along with it. The entirety of Port of Morrow is well-structured and carefully thought out, clearly a good album despite it’s initial downfalls and deviation from The Shins stripped down sound.
It’s almost if there’s something lacking in Port of Morrow though, something intrinsic to the nature of The Shins and their sound. The new electronic focus and crisp production have almost buried what was so essential to The Shins’ raw sound. However, it certainly doesn’t detract from the album, but it adds very little. Port of Morrow is still a strong release from the band, in spite of it’s certain pit fills along the way. The Shins have always had ‘something else’, and they retain it with this latest release.