The first single from their latest album, “Port of Morrow,” may be entitled “Simple Song,” but the record is far from simple. The Shins proved yet again that caring isn’t creepy and that all music enthusiasts should care enough to listen to their new release.
Available as of March 20, “Port of Morrow” was five years in the making since The Shins’ last album, “Wincing the Night Away,” was released in 2007.
The Shins took a turn toward the Beach Boys’ surf-pop ways with “Port of Morrow.”
Oceanic infusions begin with their album title, continue with lush, harmonic melodies and electrifying guitar riffs, and finally come full-circle with lyrics such as, “And you feel like an ocean/being warmed by the sun.”
For their fourth album, The Shins chose to embark on a different route.
The record was released through frontman James Mercer’s new record label, Aural Apothecary.
The highlights of this album, like all other albums from The Shins, are the warm lyrics and smooth harmonies that fit together like pieces of a puzzle.
The resulting picture is breathtaking.
“I’m just a simple man/cursed with an honest heart,” Mercer sang on the track “Bait and Switch.”
The sentimental lyrics lend themselves fittingly to Mercer’s personal life as he continues to revel in marital bliss since his April 2006 Hawaiian wedding to former journalist Marisa Kula. He and Kula have two children together.
“Port of Morrow” appears as a tribute to Kula. From the upbeat, fast-paced tempos found in tracks like “Simple Song” to sweet, romantic songs like “It’s Only Life,” the tracks all seem to have one common theme: satisfaction in Mercer’s domestic life.
Available now on Spotify, “Port of Morrow” is likely to achieve a high level of success.
The Shins took to the Saturday Night Live stage on March 10 to promote new tracks “Simple Song” and “It’s Only Life.”
Their surfer vibes float seamlessly into the hearts of their fans, and the band also managed a polished sound that even the most experienced “SNL” performers would envy.
It’s undeniable that “Port of Morrow” is groundbreaking for The Shins. It is the first album released under Aural Apothecary and their first full album in five years.
It is the first to reach a deeply personal level, and it is their first album to display heavy surfer influences.
Simply put, “Port of Morrow” is The Shins’ new slang.
Maybe the album is a tribute to Mercer’s hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii. Maybe it is a tribute to the wedded bliss he found in his 30s.
Maybe “Port of Morrow” is a tribute to the infamous girl with “gold teeth and a curse for this town.”
With The Shins, at the end of the day, it is up for interpretation no matter how direct Mercer’s lyrics may seem.
A little less indie, a little more rock. “Port of Morrow” is a mature achievement for this well-established band.
To interpret for yourself, visit www.theshins.com/home and purchase “Port of Morrow” for $10.99.