Port of Morrow - The Shins
Port of Morrow Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

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  • Summary: James Mercer's label Aural Apothecary releases The Shins' first studio album in five years.
  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. Mar 21, 2012
    It's just so utterly satisfying.
  2. 83
    [Frontman James Mercer] and his new mates have conjured the band's best album in nearly a decade.
  3. 80
    By the second listen, it's somehow found its place in one's affections, despite its lack of obvious hooks.
  4. Mar 14, 2012
    Challenging it's not, but its low-key loveliness makes it great for dinner parties where the company is almost as cool as Mercer's pre-Port track record. [Apr 2012, p.98]
  5. Mar 19, 2012
    For the Shins major-label debut, he [James Mercer] has enlisted pop producer Greg Kurstin (who has worked with everyone from Kesha to Beck) to sharpen, polish and broaden the sound, and the results are decidely mixed.
  6. It's the very definition of "not bad", but surely there's some urgent paint you need to watch drying instead?
  7. Mar 19, 2012
    For all the talk that's bound to come up over the album's production, Port of Morrow's problem isn't 't have a whole lot at stake.

See all 43 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Mar 20, 2012
    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 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
  2. Feb 6, 2013
    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. Expand
  3. j30
    Mar 20, 2012
    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. Expand
  4. Mar 22, 2012
    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. Expand
  5. Jun 3, 2012
    "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. Expand
  6. May 16, 2012
    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.
  7. Apr 19, 2012
    I'd have to disagree with j30...I found it an album I looked forward to for months and found hugely disappointing. "Wincing..." still gets regular plays after years of listening, but this? I've made myself listen to this on and off for about 2 weeks, hoping for something, but its just fairly insipid in the main. That would be reasonable, but there are a number of songs which make me want to turn it off immediately. This is mainly due to lyrics (e.g. the first use of the term "ducks in a row" outside of a business meeting full of chubby guys in chinos, or that stuff about dishwater disguised as lemonade) but there are also some musical moments where they seem to be striving for some kind of MOR-type appeal (maybe those chubby guys at the meeting? "Hey Chet, great slides, have you heard of the Shins, they're this new band..."). There are a few decent tunes, Simple Song stands out but I'm already getting a little sick of it. One review I read described it as music made especially for people in their late 30s who still want to feel a bit cool. The reviewer meant it as a good thing, and yeah I'd fall into that category but that statement kind of sums up how it sounds to me. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews