When an album you’ve been waiting for a long time finally comes out, it’s scary. I’ve got quite a few years of music consumption neatly organized on the giant shelf in my room at my parents’ house now, so I’ve known the feeling of putting on the new album of a band you adore and coming to the horrifying conclusion that it sucks. It hasn’t happened too many times, but that kind of disappointment is a pretty vivid memory. It puts a note of stress in the excitement of a new release.
I picked up Port of Morrow by The Shins on Tuesday night (Yes, I bought it the day it was released. They took five years to put the thing out–I wasn’t waiting another day.), and as I lay curled up in bed, listening to it for what is perhaps the fourth or fifth time, I am pleased to report that for me, at least, it’s not a disappointment.
On Port of Morrow, elements of each of The Shins’ previous albums blend with a new kind of maturity. James Mercer’s voice is beautiful and clear as ever; his lyrics are still these lovely, unique strings of words. The production is rich and warm. I’m going to stop now before this starts sounding more like a review than the ramblings of an excited fan who is eager to spread her budding affection for this album.
One of my favorites so far is the album’s opener, “The Rifle’s Spiral”. It’s a gorgeous, catchy track with a bit of darkness mingled with The Shins’ characteristic warmth. The lyrics are fantastic; James Mercer’s voice makes me so happy…so does the instrumentation (there’s a bit of a bass solo!). A fantastic album opener–settled my nerves and made me comfortable in the knowledge that The Shins were still awesome after five years gone. Listen!
Primitive mural on the wall,
to fortify your grim resolve.
And made the glitz of a shopping mall
another grain of indigent salt to the sea.