No headline provided

No headline provided

Karla Thurber

Five years after the release of the hit album “Wincing the Night Away,” the Shins released their long-anticipated fourth album, “Port of Morrow.” Front-man James Mercer, the sole remaining member of the original lineup co-produced the album with Greg Kurstin, a multi-instrumentalist and producer who has also collaborated with artists such as Lily Allen and Beck. Like the band’s in lineup, Mercer’s sound evolved significantly in the last five years, yet still maintains the Shins’ unique vibe. Though Mercer is the primary songwriter, “Port of Morrow” is truly a collaborative effort from all the contributing musicians, including former band members Dave Hernandez and Martin Crandall. With more electronic instrumentation than the previous albums, songs such as “No Way Down” and “Fall of ’82” have a more polished feel. Mercer changes his voice in the ablum’s final track “Port of Morrow,” attempting a falsetto that is reminiscent of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Mercer’s talent for songwriting is still evident in his lyrics, even though they are less personal and introspective and more focused on broader issues of life. The standout of the album is “September,” which has a light acoustic rhythm and gentle vocals accompanied by earnest, slightly lovelorn lyrics. In an interview with web publication “A.V. Club,” Mercer attributes the changes in style and lineup partly to his new, happy domestic life with his wife and children. Overall, the evolution of style does not detract The Shins’ organic indie-pop rock sound, but contributes to it and makes “Port of Morrow” well worth the listen.