No simple album

It’s been awhile. Five years after the release of one of my favorite albums of all time, ‘Wincing The Night Away,’ The Shins (though almost completely rearranged from their beginning lineup in 1996) released “Port Of Morrow.”

Lead vocalist, James Mercer, is a wonder. I take quite the interest in the ways people sing, and the various moods that their voices can embody. Mercer takes it to a new level. Over four albums, he has impressed me more and more with his ever changing vocal stylings. His latest effort was no exception.

Don’t be fooled by the leading single, “Simple Song.” The Shins haven’t gotten lazy, nor have they lost their unique pop spin on indie rock. As a whole, the album puts out a sharper sound, more electronic yes, but sharper nonetheless.

Mercer has musically matured and become more to-the-point with his music. As I listen to “Port Of Morrow,” I’m pleasantly reminded of their previous works with new swatches of a sound reminiscent of a toned down Hot Hot Heat or We Are Scientists.

Toned down. Just how I like my tunes. Lethargic enough to allow the sounds to drift through the air, not having to worry about a melody passing me by without being noticed.

A lot of these changes have come from leave of all but Mercer from their original lineup. Also, Mercer it seems, now father of two, has settled more into the domestic life, finding inspiration and happiness in places he never knew before. Most of all this album shows a broadened understanding of love. A love that Mercer has grown and grown over the past five years leading to this release, and I’m certainly thankful for its large presence in multiple themes throughout the album.

The next single set to be released, “It’s Only Life” was my favorite from the get go. I find myself listening to upwards of five to six times a day, which is what a good song is supposed to do. Unfortunately, The Shins’ June concert at The Pageant sold out before I could get my hands on any tickets. If you’ve got any questions, comments, or wanting to give away free Shins tickets feel free to contact me at