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Port of Morrow

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Audio CD, March 20, 2012
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. The Rifle's Spiral 3:29$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Simple Song 4:15$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. It's Only Life 4:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Bait And Switch 3:23$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. September 3:33$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. No Way Down 3:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. For A Fool 3:56$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Fall Of '82 3:48$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. 40 Mark Strasse 4:38$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Port Of Morrow 5:49$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Port of Morrow + WINCING THE NIGHT AWAY [Vinyl] + OH, INVERTED WORLD [Vinyl]
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B006VE679C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,556 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Port of Morrow, the fourth album from The Shins, was recorded in Los Angeles and Portland over the course of 2011 with James Mercer as usual handling all songwriting duties, lead vocals and the majority of instrumentation. The record was produced by Greg Kurstin and mixed by Rich Costey. The cover art was created by Jacob Escobedo.

Customer Reviews

Definitely give this album a listen.
Jeffrey M. Simon
I didn't really care what the album sounded like sonically, whether it was like "Wincing" or any of the early, more low-fi stuff.
Rex Mundi
The first few tracks on Port of Morrow are not great, but they definitely sound like The Shins.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. Davis TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 20, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A new Shins release is bound to be a big event, since the Portland-based band has only produced three earlier albums: "Oh, Inverted World" in 2001, "Chutes Too Narrow" in 2003, and the breakthrough "Wincing the Night Away" in 2007. Add a five-year hiatus, a new label (their own, a subsidiary of Columbia called Aural Apothecary), a new producer (Greg Kurstin, half of The Bird and The Bee), and a completely new lineup of bandmates (frontman James Mercer is the only constant), and fans are understandably curious as to whether the magic is still there.

The answer is yes. Mercer, one of the high priests of indie pop, is the heart and soul of The Shins. As he's entered his 40s and settled into domestic bliss (two kids), his music has inevitably changed. But since I've aged along with him, I can understand wanting to try new things and work with a variety of people. Gone -- or fired, if you prefer -- are the musicians he once played with: Martin Crandall on keyboards, Jesse Sandoval on drums, Dave Hernandez on bass. The new crew includes singer/songwriter Richard Swift, guitarist Jessica Dobson, Crystal Skulls bassist Yuuki Matthews, and Modest Mouse drummer Joe Plummer. Why didn't he simply drop the old name and call his new group the James Mercer Band? He clearly hoped to avoid losing Shins followers in the transition.

Perhaps as a result of maturity, "Port of Morrow" has a bit less energy, surprise, or spontaneity than the first three Shins albums, in which Mercer was discovering his gifts and exploring different ideas. This is more of an adult record, complex and layered, carefully calculated and orchestrated. As a consequence, some fans will surely deride it as mainstream, derivative, or dull.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jacob A. Graber on April 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I see this record getting a lot of hate on here, and some misguided praise. NO, this is NOT the same Shins that exploded with indie-pop bliss on "Oh, Inverted World," twinkled with young-yet-wise cheekiness on "Chutes Too Narrow," or soared with symphonic scope on "Wincing the Night Away." Obviously, it isn't supposed to be. After "Wincing...," I doubted whether any further work by the Shins could surpass the masterful union of melody, instrumentation, and lyrical edge that was achieved on that third album. I was a little bit right. Truth is, the trajectory of mad energy and spontaneous musicality that marked the Shins' early years could not continue forever. There is a time for all artists when youth and restlessness inevitably fade; greatness lingers for those who stay focused on the craft and allow their art to change with them, while lesser performers continue to rely on a style they can no longer pull off convincingly. With "Port of Morrow," James Mercer lands himself squarely in the former camp, which should be a relief to Shins' fans everywhere. Come on guys, of course the music was gonna change! Is "Port of Morrow" a bit slicker, more produced, and lyrically transparent than former "all killer no filler" efforts? Yes, yes, and yes. But if you can't get down with the likes of "The Rifle's Spiral," "Bait and Switch," "September," and "40 Mark Strasse," then you're just plain not listening.
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63 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Stuart C. Hancock on March 23, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to admit, I was really looking forward to this album. "Wincing the Night Away" was in my CD player (remember those?) for months--"Phantom Limb," "Girl Sailor," "Turn On Me"...there was something about the album that was simultaneously new, yet tapped into 50 years of R&R history.

Having listened to "Port of Morrow" a couple of times, I'm immediate struck by how, unlike earlier albums, all the rough edges have been sanded away, which is great from an easy listening point of view. Nothing to offend, nothing especially harsh (well, except for the falsetto on the title song). It's the sort of album that I imagine improves with repeated listenings.

However, unlike previous albums I don't hear the sort of band interplay that makes a great album. No terrific guitar parts, no sense that there was any input from other musicians. Like the whole thing sprung from Mercer's head complete and every part was crafted under his dictatorial command. Which is great as far as that goes, since Mercer is inventive and imaginative. Just not imaginative enough in my book when compared to the other albums. I don't have the sense that this is an album that will be on my heavy rotation list.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 29, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I consider myself an absolutely huge music nerd, and I love bands as complex as Radiohead and dream-pop sensations, Beach House. In fact, most of the music I listen to is semi-experimental.

I also absolutely adore the Shins, or should I say, James Mercer. Their last two albums, Wincing & Chutes, we're filled with so much personality and creativity, so therefore, when I first listened to Port of Morrow, even knowing that most of the band had departed, I still expected more of the same whimsical melodies and unique sound that had made The Shins who they are. Unfortunately (at first) I was sadly disappointed. It felt like Mercer was selling out and trying to blend in with the money making crowd of Alt-pop bands.

But then I suspended everything I typically listen for when I listen to an album, and after about 5-10 listens, this turned into my favorite Shins album, and my favorite album so far in 2012. The minute you realize that this new Shins doesn't HAVE to be excessively unique like old Shins, you'll really hear how personal this album is, and how enjoyable it truly is. It's essentially Mercer growing up, and the sound grows up with him. I won't get into the lyrics too in-depth, but when you combine the more matured, toned down sound/production with the clearly personal lyrics (specifically on the later tracks about letting go of youthful habits and lessons learned Mercer intends to pass on to his children), you'll understand the reasoning and thought process behind Port of Morrow.

Also, the melodies themselves have never been better, specifically on "Simple Song, "It's Only Life," "No Way Down," and "40 Mark Strasse." (The album's best track) and after listening to this album probably a good 30+ times, I get attached to different songs each time.
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Topic From this Discussion
I am right there with you! Couldn't agree more with everything you said.
Mar 7, 2012 by Cori |  See all 4 posts
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