The Shins - Port of Morrow

The Shins - First new music from James Mercer and The Shins since 2007's more subdued Wincing the Night Away as Mercer took a break to work with Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton on their 2010 project Broken Bells...Producer Greg Kurstin (The Bird and The Bee, Lily Allen, Sia) helps keep Mercer's adventurous songs fresh and vibrant, the sweet/tart indie/pop melodies hitting like a shot of Wellbutrin straight to the bloodstream // Release: Port of Morrow (March 20, Columbia/Aural Apothecary) //  Sounds like: pretty much a one-man show from the studio with Mercer handling all the songwriting, vocals (often in a high croon) and most of the instrumentation -- though we also hear some of Kurstin's plugged-in noodling at play... this is blissful, effortless and nuanced alt-pop, both classic in design and distinctly modern from a production standpoint -- an oddly organic sounding album considering the buzzing, blipping electronics driving the album's zig-zagging forward movement...

Quote: “There’s a lot of just thinking about love. Having children is something that makes you think about the importance of love and relationships between humans and it also at the same time, the opposite of that — the wars and violence become very poignant and distressing, too.” - James Mercer on the inspiration for Port of Morrow // What we like: "September" is a swaying ode with sweetly laid-back vibe, enhanced with some exquisitely tasteful and retro-tinged touches from Kurstin...the breezy "Simple Song" may be simple but it's also a majestic steaming slab of melodic, slightly retro art-pop...Anyone who might not be convinced of Mercer's brilliant, effortless way with a beautifully turned melody need look -- or listen -- no further than "It's Only Life"...

The Shins - "It's Only Life" (from Port of Morrow)

The Shins - "Simple Song" (from Port of Morrow)

Stream the full Port of Morrow at iTunes now...