Review: Port of Morrow
The Shins, releasing their fourth studio album, balance a nice blend of styles lyrically and musically. Five years after releasing their last album, they still create an inspiring arrangements of songs to captivate many people. Using different themes and variations in structure, the band provides an enjoyable and full experience to listeners.
Boasting a remarkable indie sound, The Shins stay true to their sound without becoming redundant. James Mercer sings clearly and smoothly in soft songs like “September,” but still creates a remarkable energy with his vocals with the track “Simple Song”. Using synth tactfully, the band creates a nice atmosphere to their music in tracks like “The Rifle’s Spiral”. The energy of the electric guitar accompanied by dynamic playing and effects brings life into many of the songs, such as “Bait and Switch”. The drums are varied and powerful in giving a song just the right amount of life. Songs can jump from a more serious and toned down feeling to a very laid back and feel good song like “It’s Only Life”. In terms of creating an engrossing experience without sacrificing their sound, The Shins have done a wonderful job.
- 9 out of 10
Lyrics and Writing
The Shins have created a lyrically diverse album. Songs like “No Way Down” describe the feeling of pointless work when other people have all of the fun, while other songs such as “Fall of ‘82” describe the importance of friendships. “Simple Song” describes the journeys of life that have passed and have yet to come. The album musically is also well written, featuring guitar delay and a clean sound in many songs, while in others it is distorted and more assertive. The drums are energetic and fast-paced in many songs, while slow and bluesy in others. Mercer’s vocals are varied between clean and controlled, quick and moving, and slow with almost moaning sounds. The songs are placed throughout the album well, making the album enjoyable to listen to from start to finish. The album’s composition shows talent, style and has been well done.
-10 out of 10
Hearing the first song of the album creates a sense of curiosity with its atmosphere and cryptic sound. The prominent synth adds to the sense of mystery. However, as the album continues it brings with it a balance of upbeat songs and slower songs with the feeling of a ballad. The songs themselves are all a mixture of dark and hopeful themes. Certain songs will sound happy, but the lyrics will reveal a more foreboding mood. Some songs are more bare, featuring mostly acoustic guitar, while other songs are very complex with a lot of synth and different instruments. The Shins create quite an impression with their sound.
- 9 out of 10
- 9.3 out of 10