One of the most interesting things about music is that it is usually based on a band/singer/writers emotions at that moment. Emotions that have been strong enough for them to think about them and then to write a song about them. What I really find fascinating though, is how music can enhance the listeners emotions, particularly if the tunes match the moment.
Why am I poorly attempting to explain this? Well, yesterday I was on the Tube in London, coming back from a meeting that presented a massive and very exciting opportunity for me. I have no idea yet whether the people I was meeting with thought that I was a fool or if they loved me. To be honest, at that moment, I didn’t really care. I was happy listening to some tunes, feeling lucky for all of the opportunities I have, the experiences I’ve enjoyed, my friends, family and everything else positive in my World. I was immensely happy and content in this big busy city. And I think part of that feeling was brought out by the music I was listening to… in this case it was the new album by The Shins : Port of Morrow.
If your not sure what The Shins sound like then you really, REALLY, should check their back catalog out, but linking them to some recent reviews, they’re not dis-similar to the Givers and they’re generally quite melodic and chilled. The lead singer, James Mercer, is also one half of Broken Bells (see my review here) and if you’ve ever watch the film ‘The Garden State’, they are the only band to have two tunes on the sound track.
Looking back at my ‘Introducing…’ article, I talked about the first two albums being similar and there 3rd album progressing with a bit more vigor. With ‘Port of Morrow’, the progression has continued but I would describe this one as an album demonstrating more experience.
I wouldn’t say it has “grown up” because, well, I’m not sure how I could justify that. And the lyrics appear to have the same careful thought as the previous 3. What really catches me about this album is the little details and melodies. It’s really polished and… complete.
I have to confess that I have needed a couple of listens to really catch it but now I find myself in a inescapable loop that gets ever more addictive and enjoyable. I want to be sitting in the sunshine, staring at the blue sky, somewhere along the west coast of America, dreaming my dreams. Hey, even a Tube train on the Central Line will do!
So, in a very round about way, I have to recommend this album as I have done for the other 3. Aside from the fact that this is a cracking album, The Shins are probably the perfect case for why I write my blog. 4 beautiful albums in and you are highly unlikely to see this lot in the top 10 in the ‘pop’ charts. That’s a shame because they deserve the credit but in other ways, perhaps it preserves their magic. You won’t find this lot mentoring on X Factor or getting a re-mix by Dr Dre, but you will be able to by any one of their albums and be able to listen to it with a smile.
Hopefully, like me, you can listen to this and get a warm feeling inside and a moment of peace where you can listen to music and enjoy one of the most simple but wonderful things one can do.
(4 out of 4)