I was happy to hear The Shins were putting out a new album. Then I found out James Mercer was the only original member playing on it. Thankfully for Mercer, he's a great song writer, with a greater set of pipes. The new members sound good, but there is a different vibe here, and maybe a tad less chemistry. Either way, Port of Morrow gets us right back to where we once belonged, to borrow a phrase form The Beatles.
"Simple Song" takes us to that place where The Shins portrayed such grace and style a few years back on Chutes Too Narrow, before all the members split for side projects, and Mercer played with Broken Bells.
Other standouts like "No Way Down," and "The Rifle's Spiral" showcase a newer sound of what's to come, if this combo continues working together.
"No Way Down" shows new direction and some successful strides in songwriting. With Morrissey like vocal phrasing and some dancey instrumentation, this is the highlight of Port of Morrow. I look forward to hearing more of this style on the next record.