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The Shins' Port of Morrow

This is a new Shins, not the band that gave us the delicious acoustic-pop of Chutes to Narrow and Oh Inverted World. Nor the band that released Wincing the Night Away five years ago. The landscape has changed; members have been replaced, leaving James Mercer as the sole-surviving Shin.

Port of Morrow finds Mercer and his current cohorts ferreting through new sounds and rhythms and finding what works. The overall result is a lovely record. Mercer still has a gift of crafting unique melodies. There are times when they fall short (the pre-chorus of “It’s Only Life”), but overall they mold potent, memorable hooks.

The new band sounds relaxed, familiar with each other. On “Bait and Switch,” playful worldly rhythms drive over a bed of subtle electronica and Mercer’s voice soars powerfully in the chorus. On “September‚” we recall some of the slower earlier Shins balladry, but beneath the familiar is a feel of soft tropicalia, as Mercer whispers “Telling stories of our possible lives/ and love is the ink in the well where her body writes.” The message of his poetry is more tangible than the abstractions of the past. The opening to the track “No Way Down” sounds like cliché modern pop, but then the song settles into itself and sounds more natural. On “Fall of ’82,” one can almost hear Steve Miller talking through “Take the Money and Run.” One of the highlights is the sprawling closer “Port of Morrow.” Mercer’s falsetto is confident, giving the cadence of the verses swagger, and the music is a moody, spaced-out anchor to the vocals, conjuring curiosity as to what this new Shins will take on next.

  • Album: Port of Morrow
  • Artist: Shins
  • Label: Columbia
  • Songs: (1) The Rifle's Spiral (2) Simple Song (3) It's Only Life (4) Bait and Switch (5) September (6) No Way Down (7) For a Fool (8) Fall of '82 (9) 40 Mark Strasse (10) Port of Morrow
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This is a new Shins, not the band that gave us the delicious acoustic-pop of Chutes to Narrow and Oh Inverted World. Nor the band that released Wincing the Night Away five years ago. The landscape has changed; members have been replaced, leaving James Mercer as the sole-surviving Shin.

Port of Morrow finds Mercer and his current cohorts ferreting through new sounds and rhythms and finding what works. The overall result is a lovely record. Mercer still has a gift of crafting unique melodies. There are times when they fall short (the pre-chorus of “It’s Only Life”), but overall they mold potent, memorable hooks.

The new band sounds relaxed, familiar with each other. On “Bait and Switch,” playful worldly rhythms drive over a bed of subtle electronica and Mercer’s voice soars powerfully in the chorus. On “September‚” we recall some of the slower earlier Shins balladry, but beneath the familiar is a feel of soft tropicalia, as Mercer whispers “Telling stories of our possible lives/ and love is the ink in the well where her body writes.” The message of his poetry is more tangible than the abstractions of the past. The opening to the track “No Way Down” sounds like cliché modern pop, but then the song settles into itself and sounds more natural. On “Fall of ’82,” one can almost hear Steve Miller talking through “Take the Money and Run.” One of the highlights is the sprawling closer “Port of Morrow.” Mercer’s falsetto is confident, giving the cadence of the verses swagger, and the music is a moody, spaced-out anchor to the vocals, conjuring curiosity as to what this new Shins will take on next.

  • Album: Port of Morrow
  • Artist: Shins
  • Label: Columbia
  • Songs: (1) The Rifle's Spiral (2) Simple Song (3) It's Only Life (4) Bait and Switch (5) September (6) No Way Down (7) For a Fool (8) Fall of '82 (9) 40 Mark Strasse (10) Port of Morrow
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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