• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Mar 20, 2012

Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
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  1. Mar 21, 2012
    It's just so utterly satisfying.
  2. 90
    With Port of Morrow Mercer digs deep in forming a polished and almost, muscular relationship with the music.
  3. Mar 16, 2012
    These are songs to fall in love to, to grow along with, and to share with friends in need of a life-change.
  4. Mar 13, 2012
    It's arguably Mercer's and the Shins' most satisfying achievement.
  5. Mar 19, 2012
    Port of Morrow doesn't sound like it belongs to any particular decade or style, instead hopping around like some fully loaded AM radio dial that cranks out gem after gem.
  6. 83
    [Frontman James Mercer] and his new mates have conjured the band's best album in nearly a decade.
  7. Apr 12, 2012
    Clumsy it might be, familiar it might be; redundant it sure isn't quite yet.
  8. Apr 3, 2012
    In terms of pure triumph, Port of Morrow provides its listeners with safe harbor regardless.
  9. Mojo
    Mar 22, 2012
    A formidable piece of work, repositioning Mercer away from his Pacific Northwest indie rock peer group. [Apr 2012, p.82]
  10. Mar 21, 2012
    The pair's [James Mercer and Greg Kurstin's] proclivity for spacious, languid moods helps Port of Morrow move smoothly from mod throwback shimmies (like the spindly guitar jam "Bait and Switch'') to the hypnotic, near trip-hop of the title track.
  11. 80
    By the second listen, it's somehow found its place in one's affections, despite its lack of obvious hooks.
  12. Q Magazine
    Mar 14, 2012
    An album rich in kaleidoscopic colour to contrast the diluted greys of its sleeve, marked with the expert touch of true masters of their art. [April 2012, p.96]
  13. Mar 14, 2012
    It's to Mercer's credit that Port of Morrow, which could have so easily veered off into soulless corporatism or self-indulgence, manages to remain nothing less than both a universal and personal joy to listen to.
  14. Mar 15, 2012
    Port of Morrow makes the hooks sharper and the pop poppier, and that in turn makes the Shins sound smarter.
  15. Mar 20, 2012
    Port of Morrow is transition time for The Shins.
  16. Mar 26, 2012
    The best songs bear the mark of an auteur weirding out, by himself.
  17. Mar 22, 2012
    Questions of semantics and authenticity aside, Port of Morrow's songs are compelling enough to keep most fans listening and enjoying.
  18. Mar 20, 2012
    Port of Morrow has more of a studio-sculpture auteurist vibe than ever.
  19. Mar 19, 2012
    Most of the songs on Port of Morrow seem slack and not especially purposive.
  20. Uncut
    Mar 16, 2012
    The pair's [singer James Mercer and producer Greg Kurstin] pop instincts ultimately prevail over more esoteric ambitions. [Apr 2012, p.86]
  21. Alternative Press
    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]
  22. Mar 12, 2012
    Even when it sounds routine – Simple Song sounds exactly like a Shins song written to order – it works, simultaneously mixing zippy and plangent, joy and resignation.
  23. Mar 20, 2012
    Sure, it's nice to hear such a talented songwriter working with ease and precision, but it's just not always that interesting.
  24. Mar 20, 2012
    Mercer has made what amounts to a solo record and needlessly attached it to a band identity that he's outgrown.
  25. Mar 20, 2012
    At times, Port of Morrow greatly benefits from the filmy pop-electronica details that Kurstin drapes over the productions....On a few other songs, the weak melodies can't bear out the flourishes and they meander exhaustively.
  26. 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.
  27. Apr 5, 2012
    It's an interesting listen but doesn't leave a strong impression.
  28. Mar 22, 2012
    While there's no doubt that Port of Morrow is well crafted, then, it fails because it is ultimately unmoving, and what Mercer has gained in style and execution is overshadowed by the album's lack of either invention or sincerity.
  29. 60
    Even if the Mensa-folk crew feel dumbed down on, there's just enough Mercer magic on Morrow to light up your local drop-in centre.
  30. Mar 20, 2012
    Port of Morrow seems much more a step sideways than forward for Mercer, not so much a dramatic comeback but more a compilation of greatest hits masquerading as new songs.
  31. It's the very definition of "not bad", but surely there's some urgent paint you need to watch drying instead?
  32. Mar 19, 2012
    Ample evidence of why Mercer's songs are so widely cherished. But there remains something a little clinical about the efficiency with which he dispatches these studies in perky wistfulness.
  33. Mar 19, 2012
    Port of Morrow captures Mercer in a different era, and although questionable at times, it's a fruitful adventure that requires a little swinging and paddling.
  34. Mar 19, 2012
    The results are hit or miss going forward.
  35. Mar 16, 2012
    'Port Of Morrow' is a glorious and confident return, even if it lacks a little darkness at times.
  36. Mar 15, 2012
    If it's not an album to turn the listener into a screaming proselyte, there's still enough magic to make it worthwhile.
  37. Magnet
    Mar 12, 2012
    There's a brighter sheen to the new Shins ... [yet] too often feels like Mercer's straining and striving when he used to be quirky and charming. [No. 85, p.51]
  38. May 7, 2012
    "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.
  39. Mar 19, 2012
    The latest full-length from the latest version of The Shins has some amazing songs.... But it also has some of the worst songs The Shins have ever produced.
  40. Under The Radar
    Jul 9, 2012
    An aesthetically perfect long play er that dithers in the background. [Jun 2012, p.155]
  41. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 79
  2. Negative: 2 out of 79
  1. 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 youThe 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. Full Review »
  2. 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 lacksA 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. Full Review »
  3. 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 getsI'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. Full Review »