Intricately woven, The Shins’ new release, Port Of Morrow, is like the canvas of a cathartic dream. Lucid, colorful and delicate, it strips down inhibitions and holds the listener through a spine-tingling sequence of emotions. Displaying unparalleled songwriting and refined musicianship, this album is the band’s most enticing and poignant batch of tunes yet.
Upon this canvas, singer James Mercer paints a flourishing world of heartfelt melodies, his inflections brushing the senses in the most tantalizing manner. Interlaced guitar notes flirt with the listener while playfully caressing Mercer’s glorious vocals. Each song is a charming treat, beautifully orchestrated and moving in an honest and effortless way. Standouts like “It’s Only Life” and “For A Fool” are sweeping serenades that will summon emotions you didn’t even know you were feeling. Such is the reach of this record; it twines in coils around your deepest sentiments.
Other songs on the album, though less affecting, are similarly engaging. “40 Mark Strasse” feels like the soundtrack to a moonlit walk across a sprawling, plush meadow. “Fall Of ’82” is the one for the youngsters, carrying a wistful quality reminiscent of the band’s 2001 anthem “New Slang.” Each contains incredibly clear, crisp tones, proving The Shins are one of the most mature and polished groups around. These tracks are flawless yet never formulaic, and even the more poppy moments on the record are unquestionably sincere.
The group’s fourth to date, this album serves as proof that a band can stick to an established style and still produce top-notch music on a consistent basis. In the case of The Shins, their brand of tender indie rock only grows more evocative with each release. Port Of Morrow is quality music in its dreamiest form.