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MUSIC REVIEW

Shins' new album feels like retread



The Shins - “Port of Morrow”

Rating: ★★ (out of four)

With the band's first album in five years, they pulled me back in. The deceptively-titled “Simple Song” — with its rising and crashing beats and melodies — is the primary culprit.

The Shins' jangly indie rock guitar sound it's known for is back on “Simple Song” as well as tunes such as “No Way Down” and “40 Mark Strasse.” And if you're a fan of The Shins, you'll recognize bandleader James Mercer's sad, sweet voice and longing lyrics.

You can also hear the influence of Mercer's non-Shins band, Broken Bells, on the production of this album. Some of the airiness and melody apparent in music from Broken Bells is right there on songs such as “September” and title track, “Port of Morrow.”

What gets me here is that “Simple Song” shows something new while the rest feels like repeated themes and feelings of old music from The Shins. I'll be listening to this album again, but I'll be skipping a lot of tracks.

— Kevin Coffey


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