Port of Morrow

  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Mar 20, 2012
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 66
  2. Negative: 2 out of 66

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  1. j30
    Mar 20, 2012
    9
    The Shins Port of Morrow is triumphant return. Unlike Radiohead's TKOL and Red Hot Chili Peppers' I'm With You, it's one of those albums you look forward to months in advance and it doesn't disappoint.
  2. Mar 20, 2012
    10
    A great addition to The Shins' discography, and easily the best album to have been released this year (as of so far at least). While it lacks some of the poignant lows of previous albums, the soaring highs carry the album far above many previous ventures of Mercer's. Although at times Port of Morrow can sound quite crisp and clean in comparison to the dark instrumentation of Wincing theA great addition to The Shins' discography, and easily the best album to have been released this year (as of so far at least). While it lacks some of the poignant lows of previous albums, the soaring highs carry the album far above many previous ventures of Mercer's. Although at times Port of Morrow can sound quite crisp and clean in comparison to the dark instrumentation of Wincing the Night Away or the lo-fi element of Oh, Inverted World, it still manages to hold its own, proving once again the prowess of James Mercer's abilities. Overall, I love this album to death, and while it does threaten to fizzle out towards the end, it's incredibly enjoyable and a great listen. Expand
  3. Jun 11, 2012
    9
    I'm an average, at best, Shins fan. I've always found flaws in their production, song construction, etc. when others praise their eclectic and almost jazz-like approach to songwriting that has frequently been void of enough melody for me to completely swallow their greatness. That changes tremendously with Port of Morrow. While purists may not agree, this is, by far my favorite ShinsI'm an average, at best, Shins fan. I've always found flaws in their production, song construction, etc. when others praise their eclectic and almost jazz-like approach to songwriting that has frequently been void of enough melody for me to completely swallow their greatness. That changes tremendously with Port of Morrow. While purists may not agree, this is, by far my favorite Shins album. Their production is cleaner, more professional and brings out the greatness of their unique structure, while also driving melody through them. "The Rifle's Spiral," "It's Only Life," "No Way Down," and "40 Mark Strausse" are the highlights in an almost perfect album. Expand
  4. Sep 2, 2012
    9
    Though it might not be "critically brilliant", Port of Morrow is one of very few albums in 2012 that I still listen to frequently months after its release.
  5. Mar 26, 2012
    7
    Agreed strongly with dimedwitnick's review. A few songs did sound a bit like motivational pop. After listening to the album several times, four of the first five songs are pretty good, then the album slips into mediocrity. Still, the song September must rank among their absolute best and it should be released as a single. Simple Song is also terrific. Overall, the album is a very easyAgreed strongly with dimedwitnick's review. A few songs did sound a bit like motivational pop. After listening to the album several times, four of the first five songs are pretty good, then the album slips into mediocrity. Still, the song September must rank among their absolute best and it should be released as a single. Simple Song is also terrific. Overall, the album is a very easy listen, but don't expect it to be as great as earlier Shins albums. I will be anxiously awaiting the second album by Broken Bells. Collapse
  6. Mar 31, 2012
    8
    Port Of Morrow is a return to form from indie outfit The Shins. It's far more different from their previous three albums, but still manages to hold that pop rock feel to it. James Mercer is the only surviving member of the band which isn't a bad thing at all. It feels and sounds like a new band, and I love it. All In All, Port Of Morrow is a fantastic record. B+
  7. Mar 20, 2012
    7
    This is a good album. There a few elements that are just missing on it for me though. For one, at some points, it doesn't feel like a Shins album. Though there are good songs on here such as Bait and Switch, Rifle's Spiral, It's Only Life, Simple Song, and No Way Down, but there isn't any of those quirky songs with twists and turns like there was in Chutes too Narrow, Inverted World orThis is a good album. There a few elements that are just missing on it for me though. For one, at some points, it doesn't feel like a Shins album. Though there are good songs on here such as Bait and Switch, Rifle's Spiral, It's Only Life, Simple Song, and No Way Down, but there isn't any of those quirky songs with twists and turns like there was in Chutes too Narrow, Inverted World or even Wincing the Night Away. There aren't any Caring Is Creepy or New Slang, or Australia or New Limb or Kissing the Lipless. None of those fun quirky songs that you can just bob your head to and sing along while doing your best James Mercer falsetto. I mean this a good album, but it just doesn't feel like a Shins album to me. Maybe it's because of the lineup change. The new lead guitarist seems to be a bit generic with her riffs and that kinda brings it down for me because the Shins, in the past, were far from generic. Still though, this is a good, enjoyable album with a few songs on here that will be re-playable for a very long time. Recommend this album to any Shins fans, new or old. Expand
  8. May 3, 2012
    7
    The Shins returns after a long absense with very little of the original band remaining. Listening to the band talk about this album you would think it's going to be a contender for record of the year. Unfortunately they are a bit deluded. It's a good record with some nice pop songs on it but that's it really. Reminds me of the Kooks - they have something going for them but not as much asThe Shins returns after a long absense with very little of the original band remaining. Listening to the band talk about this album you would think it's going to be a contender for record of the year. Unfortunately they are a bit deluded. It's a good record with some nice pop songs on it but that's it really. Reminds me of the Kooks - they have something going for them but not as much as they think themselves. Expand
  9. May 16, 2012
    8
    I really think that more reviews need to be written after the album has been out for several months or even years. I thought the album pleasant but unremarkable when I first heard it and would probably have ranked it a 6. I loved Simple Song - so did pretty much everyone else as far as I can tell.

    But after many, many listens I love the album more and more as a whole. (I note that
    I really think that more reviews need to be written after the album has been out for several months or even years. I thought the album pleasant but unremarkable when I first heard it and would probably have ranked it a 6. I loved Simple Song - so did pretty much everyone else as far as I can tell.

    But after many, many listens I love the album more and more as a whole. (I note that my "album" includes "Pariah King" which is very good and should in my view have been officially on the album as the last track). "September," "For a Fool" and "Port of MOrrow" are all wonderfully melodic and swirling and I defy anyone to not sooner or later attempt to sing along with Mercer's falsetto on the tracks. They are also all tracks that I found fairly boring or nondescript on the first run through. For me the album is a sleeper hit that grows with repeated listening much like Crowded House's Woodface.
    Expand
  10. Mar 22, 2012
    8
    Not the Shins' best work, but still great. There are some great songs and some that need some work. They lack the witty songwriting that made Chutes Too Narrow special, but accompany the lyrics with cheerful melodies that make you want to sing along. Good album, but definitely not their best.
  11. Jun 3, 2012
    8
    "With an intoxicating blend of slippery jazz rhythms and Mercer's slinky falsetto," I give Port Of Morrow a B+. The album may not be as great as the three albums that preceded it, but that doesn't mean that it's not a great album on its own. "Simple Song" and "The Rifle's Spiral" are two favourites.
  12. Mar 20, 2012
    9
    It is a great album, it sounds like a combination of their previous albums and may be their best, most consistent album since Chutes Too Narrow. I highly recommend this album to both people new to The Shins and long time listeners.
  13. Mar 21, 2012
    9
    While Oh, Inverted World remains my favorite Shins release (so typical, I know), several listens to Port of Morrow place it second in line behind their debut and ahead of Chutes Too Narrow and Wincing the Night Away. James Mercer's lyrical skills are front and center - as is his voice - with a set of more consistently good songs. (As opposed to the occasional hiccups that appeared onWhile Oh, Inverted World remains my favorite Shins release (so typical, I know), several listens to Port of Morrow place it second in line behind their debut and ahead of Chutes Too Narrow and Wincing the Night Away. James Mercer's lyrical skills are front and center - as is his voice - with a set of more consistently good songs. (As opposed to the occasional hiccups that appeared on Chutes Too Narrow and the much more inconsistent Wincing the Night Away.) Highlights include: "Fall of '82" -- great chord and tempo changes AND a trumpet (yes, trumpet!) solo; opener "The Rifle's Spiral" -- reminiscent of elements of previous openers "Kissing the Lipless" and "Caring is Creepy"; "September" -- sounds like this was the finished track for which Wincing the Night Away's "Girl Sailor" (along with elements of "Red Rabbits") was merely a demo; and "Bait and Switch." Port of Morrow was well worth the wait. Expand
  14. Mar 24, 2012
    10
    Port of Morrow is the best album I've heard in recent years, and it is working its way higher in my all-time favorites list with each listen. The album is replete with beautiful melodies, harmonies, bridges, instrumentation, lyrics, and production. Like The Shinsâ
  15. May 26, 2012
    8
    I was really excited when I heard that there's gonna be a new The Shins album and I pre-ordered it to get it as fast I can. I think it's a good album but just not as brilliant as their older records. My favorite songs are "Simple Song"; "The Rifles Spiral" and "Bait and Switch" because they sound more like their older songs.
  16. Jul 24, 2014
    7
    This album is different from so many albums as it emphasizes electronics intrusments and layers the basics of a song and melody. While it isn't exactly indie pop it is inspired by it though.
  17. Jan 18, 2013
    8
    I've returned to this album recently after not really getting on with it first time round. I think it consists of 10 very fine songs. Better than 'Wincing' for me, but not as good as their first two obviously.
  18. Feb 6, 2013
    9
    All in all, this album is a lot of great work. Not perfect, but there are some addictive tracks on here, and Mercer brings some great additions to the Shins catalogue.
  19. Jan 20, 2014
    9
    I always tried to get into The Shins, but I never could. Until I heard "Simple Song"
    What is "Simple Song" well it's the second track, and the highlight of the album, and it represents the rest of the album, you come for Simple Song, and stay for the whole album.
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. 90
    With Port of Morrow Mercer digs deep in forming a polished and almost, muscular relationship with the music.
  2. Jul 9, 2012
    40
    An aesthetically perfect long play er that dithers in the background. [Jun 2012, p.155]
  3. May 7, 2012
    55
    "Bait and Switch," the best song on Port of Morrow, recaptures some of this eager, joyful glee; but in my opinion, the rest of the album holds none of these virtues.