Welcome back all! We've got a highly-anticipated new release this week from The Shins, an indie band that has a huge name without ever really touching mainstream radio. This is their first album in five years, and the first since three of the founding members departed - two of which still contributed. It's supposedly more slick and polished, while keeping the band's general popular sound.
There's some very dark undertones throughout this. Port of Morrow is a sign at a port authority in Oregon, which inspired their frontman to think about everyone's tomorrow ultimately leading to death. It's actually a pretty boring industrial port - go figure.
Spotify has it up, so check it out there!
"The Rifle's Spiral" kicks things off. A little scared with the tuning distortion at first, but it subsided pretty quickly. THe drum beat kicks up and is oddly upbeat, which doesn't fit with the vocals the whole way through. It's one of those things that maybe sort of works though. So wrong it's right would be a little extreme of a description, but we can, at the very least, be accepting of a sound that actually seems to say "we're back."
The first single off the album was "Simple Song." It's very... happy! I mean, well, I don't know what I was expecting. I don't make it hait to listen to The Shins, but I always assumed they were closer to The White Stripes than Fitz and the Tantrums or Foster The People. There's happy tones throughout the song, and the melodies are just a good time overall. And with lyrics like "Don't go thinking you've gotta be tough..." you actually feel uplifted by music, which is nice.
"No Way Down" has this awesome drum beat. Okay, that was a really simple statement, but true. I don't know - it works and is fun enough, even with a slightly distorted sound to the rest of it. Seriously, there's this weird spacey sound to the guitar (this "Pete & Pete/90's music), and the voice just seems to come in when it wants with whatever it wants. There's no rhyme or reason to my ears.
Think back to those slow dances in 6th grade, and you've got the sounds of "For A Fool." Except this time, it's an incredibly sad song of heartbreak and you just can't wait for the dance to be over. It's like that time I danced with the most disgusting guy in school because no one would. He was nice, just really, really sweaty. *shudder*
"Fall of '82" has a Weezer-esq/Island sound, but don't get me wrong - it's all its own at the same time. This just sounds like a really sweet friend-to-friend song, thanking someone for being there for them. And then, maybe an admittance of caring a lot more than they ever realized. I don't necessarily mean that in a romantic way, just an appreciative way that doesn't necessarily take shape until much later. And there's a muted horn instrumental bridge that's just darling. Did I really just use that word for this band?
Sweet little guitar rhythm with some distant whistling. I continue to be amazed at how light this entire album has been in tone. "40 Mark Strasse" got interrupted by some awesome news that I'm going to see some friends this weekend on their trip up to the city. :) However, it was lovely, just a little toned down and slower as it drug on.
"Port of Morrow" is the final song and the most in tune with what I expected the album to entail. I think there's either a female voice included, or else he is hitting that falsetto hard in the first verse. This song drags compared to the rest, and it's just tough to sit though. This just has me hoping the album, which has been pretty nice for the most part, is almost over.
Added To My Playlist:
- "Simple Song"
- "It's Only Life"
- "Fall of '82"
Okay, so, yes, I didn't expect a very pop album, but that's what we got, up until the last quarter or so. Then it got to be closer to what I expected, and I lost the joy. Overall, I liked the album and want to hear more of the band... just in a more consistent manner. Loose the echo, bring it down an octave, and keep those amazing lyrics, and we're set!