Unfortunately, the James Mercer show does not provide the same charming, melodic tunes that we used to get when The Shins were a full fledged band. The often self-indulgent influence of his side projects has seeped into this once great band as well.
The album opener "The Rifle's Spiral" betrays that. Despite a catchy bounce, the electronic music influence is front and centre. It's bubbles and swirls that draw attention on "No Way Down"
More disappointing though is the number of songs on the record that are just plain dull. "40 Mark Strasse" is lush but devoid of soul. "September" is an absolute snoozer. "It's Only Life" is virtually dripping with sappiness.
There are some strong moments however. The most melodic being the smooth lament "For A Fool". An uncharacteristically energetic performance is welcome in the form of the shimmering "Bait And Switch". The title track provides a dark, moody yet oh so lovely closing moment.
Those expecting the clever, endearing, unconventionally catchy Shins are in for a bitter let down.
Best tracks: "Bait and Switch", "Port Of Morrow"
Track listing for Port Of Morrow:
- The Rifle's Spiral
- Simple Song
- It's Only Life
- Bait and Switch
- No Way Down
- For A Fool
- Fall Of '82
- 40 Mark Strasse
- Port Of Morrow