True, the current line-up of The Shins may no longer resemble that great indie band that will forever change your life according to that little movie about that mopey boy meeting that impossibly unrealistic manic-pixie dream girl. You might be forgiven if you want to call this current line-up as James Mercer and his backing band.
The truth of the matter is The Shins have always been about Mercer, his writing craft, and his songs. This was true when The Shins released New Slang. It still is true now – even if Mercer has sort of morphed into looking like Kevin Spacey. Mercer has always written and produced most of the band’s materials. And if hiring new members helped him feel invigorated into writing new songs, then more power to him.
Port of Morrow, the newest album of the band after a five year hiatus then still sounds like vintage Shins. Meaning what you will get are jangly, hooky, incredibly pleasant melodic tunes. Simple Song, the first single off the album might be one of the best tunes you’ll hear this year with its burrowing hooks and majestic lines. The whole album is filled with these – some more memorable than others. So yes, regardless of what you feel about Mercer firing the original members of the band and replacing them wholesale, you will enjoy Port of Morrow if you liked The Shins in the first place. Because The Shins is James Mercer.
In addition to being an incredible tune, Simple Song has one of the better music videos I have seen this year. Check it out below, along with another standout track, September.
The Shins – Port of Morrow comes out 3/20 via Aural Apothecary (order here)