Album Review: The Shins – Port of Morrow – Released 19th March 2012

The Shins - Port of Morrow

The Shins have confirmed they will release their fourth album Port of Morrow on 19th March 2012. It is their first album in five years following shakeups in the band’s line-up and will be released jointly on James Mercer's own Aural Apothecary label and Columbia Records. 

The album consists of ten tracks and comes with a familiar alternate-pop/rock feel that has been long associated with the band. With Mercer’s move away from the mainstream record labels to further his own label there is a sense that the band have gained more freedom to experiment with their musical style. Other critics have likened it to Radiohead, but I think it’s much less moody and distinctly more upbeat than that! 

I have to confess to not knowing much about their previous work, but I find it hard not to enjoy the album. I am particularly fond of the laid-back, more country-western vibe of September. The title track Port of Morrow is also worth a mention – with haunting electronic instrumentation and gentle sliding vocals from Mercer that move seamlessly from the grittier lower range to an impressive falsetto. 

I personally find the best track on the album to be The Rifle’s Spiral. It seems strong, upbeat and love the way the music pulls back in the middle section to expose the voice with just a basic bass pattern and drum beat. 

Fans have been singing the album’s praises all over the forums and I am entitled to support them with this view. It seems to be a well-put-together album with an interesting mix of flavours, performed by a band with obvious talent. Its original and while it doesn’t excite me enough to call up my friends and demand they purchase a copy, neither do I think it will do badly upon its release.