By: Connor Williams
After a five year gap in production, The Shins are finally back with a new album, Port of Morrow. The group’s lead singer/guitarist/songwriter, James Mercer, took some time off for a project with Danger Mouse to create the group Broken Bells. Their latest record is on a new music label, Aural Apothecary, instead of their previous work with Sub Pop.
The album starts with a chilling and psychedelic tune “Rifle’s Spiral”. This is a new sound for The Shins, more similar to Mercer’s work with Danger Mouse than their usual light and dreamy sound. However, the next song, “Simple Song”, gets back towards their original sound. This was a pre-released single and met with strong support from old fans.
As the album progresses we begin to see that The Shins have changed, but for the better. They are able to take their trademark sounds and mature them; instead of their light, naive, and innocent tone, this album feels older and a little darker.
For fans of the band’s past classic acoustic sets, “New Slang” and “The Past and the Pending”, there is also a great little treat with “September” a nostalgic and quiet acoustic track midway through the album. All in all, The Shins have managed to stay true to their roots and produce an album that captures the old with the new. You will want to take some time and give it a listen if you are a past fan, or if you like such bands as The Decembrists, Arcade Fire, or Modest Mouse.