The Shins


Port of Morrow Columbia ****

Crossing over from Pitchfork favorites to a wider fan base can be problematic for some bands. What would they rather have – hipster cred (so-called) or massive sales? We’d guess the latter, of course, but selling substantial amounts of records applies pressures heretofore missing. So what to do? Formed 16 years ago, The Shins have taken five of those to deliver their fourth album, but, Jaysus, the wait has been worth it. By turns introspective, reflective, intriguing, shimmering and sparkling, the music hangs on hooks nailed into the brain of Shins leader James Mercer. Subtly influenced by his recent Broken Bells collaboration with Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) and swayed by Brian Eno’s pop/ambient strokes, the album serves as a taster for summer: guitars twang, electronics swirl and the ghosts of Phil Spector and other durable pop tunesmiths mooch around the attic.


Download tracks: Simple Song, 40 Mark Strasse