Indie pop group The Shins miss the mark on fourth album ‘Port of Morrow’
Published: Monday, March 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2012 00:03
The Shins, a Grammy-nominated band, will release release their newest album Tuesday.
"Port of Morrow" is the band’s fourth album since its inception in 1997 and their first album since 2007’s critically and commercially successful "Wincing the Night Away." However, the only band member coming back for this album is singer, songwriter and guitarist James Mercer.
In addition, it is their first album since leaving Sub-Pop Records for Mercer’s new Aural Apothecary label.
Fresh off of a performance on "Saturday Night Live," the album’s first single, "Simple Song," is an extraordinary combination of the band’s jangly indie-pop sound paired with skillfully crafted lyrics. The music video is one of the best and most awe-inspiring so far this year. It is a great example of Mercer at his best, similar to the songs "Caring is Creepy" and "New Slang" that were featured in the 2004 film "Garden State."
The Police-sounding "Fall of ‘82" has a wonderful twang and an excellent saxophone solo to accompany lyrics about the close relationship between a brother and sister.
Following it is the slower "40 Mark Strasse," which is one of the most well-written songs on the album and one of the best in the band’s repertoire.
It details a young boy’s love for a girl from a dysfunctional family and his mother’s subsequent disapproval. Other than those three tracks, the other seven are unremarkable, with some seeming to be fillers to get the album just over 40 minutes.
It is more polished and electronic than The Shins’ three other albums, but that may be a turnoff to many of their fans.
At best, "Port of Morrow" is a CD to play in the background while chatting with friends outside on a warm spring day.
At worst, the track "Simple Song" is a great purchase from iTunes.