The Shins – Port of Morrow
In 1996 The Shins, originally created as a side project for singer/songwriter James Mercer, arrived on the American Indie scene. With a line-up now featuring, among others, Modest Mouse’s Joe Plummer and Yuuki Matthews from Crystal Skulls, it seems they now have potential to go that little bit further.
Their new release, Port of Morrow, is the fourth album by the band and also their first in five years. If you’re looking at the artwork and thinking to yourself it might look slightly familiar, then you would be right: it was created by artist Jacob Escobedo who has worked with other famous bands. Available in stores on 20th March, this album has already made a remarkably high appearance in the UK chart.
James Mercer has a unique voice in that he can manage to sound masculine yet slightly feminine in parts without either overpowering the other. This makes the lyrics of each song sound even more meaningful. Every element – the instruments, the chords, the words, all create a truly majestic sound.
Simple Song, a previously released single, is the second track on the album and provides us with a more positive vibe. It is safe to say overall that this isn’t an album to exercise to or to do the housework to but an album to relax and reflect with. Perfect for these slightly warmer spring afternoons.
Tracks such as It’s Only Life and The Rifles Spiral contain lyrics which are thought provoking and authentic. They come from life, from experience, from deep inside the mind.
Concluding with Port of Morrow it feels like you’re taking a deep-sea submarine ride. It has that underwater feel to it which provides a great ending to what has been a consistently good album.
The ten-track compilation of emotions, with two excellent bonus tracks, describes the beautiful things in life alongside the slightly less wonderful and how these two connect with each other. This album is definitely worth listening to for its melancholy and haunting emotions.
Port of Morrow is released by Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records on 16th March 2012.
Watch the video for It’s Only Life here: