The Shins Port of Morrow Review

Indie rockers The Shins bring us their latest album, Port of Morrow.

The Shins Port of Morrow

With The Shins, it’s hard to say anything they put out is extremely bad. It’s also hard to say anything is really good.  What Port of Morrow delivers is something that is musically proficient, but ultimately rather dull.

For those of you not in the know, The Shins have an indie rock sound with a bit of a country twang. They give you a  mellow feel and nothing ever offends the ears.  It’s not an unpleasant band to listen to, but The Shins never stray too far from this sound.

Port of Morrow starts out strong.  Both “The Rifle’s Spiral” and “Simple Song” are a good way to bring listeners into the album. In fact, I enjoy “Simple Song” quite a bit.  Then enjoyment of Port of Morrow slowly starts to fade as you realize that most of the album sounds the same.  I mean really the same. To the point where it is entirely possible to not notice you’ve listened to several tracks because there isn’t anything that really differentiates them.  Album doldrums seem to plague a lot of artists trying fill whatever the requirements are to release a full album.  Port of Morrow suffers from this ailment to the extreme.

Despite being somewhat bland, Port of Morrow isn’t really a bad album. It just won’t be one you’ll listen to over and over.  There just isn’t anything to keep you coming back.

Party Goer Opinions

Lauren: “I think I’ve heard this song before on another Shins’ album.”

Dave: “It’s pretty ‘meh.’ And ‘meh’ isn’t worth my time.”

Matt: “It was ok, but kind of vanilla.”

Verdict: People didn’t have much to say about the album.  Overall, no one thought it was horrible, but they also thought it was rather bland. You’re not going to get anything unexpected.

If you liked previous Shins albums, it’s a safe bet that  you are going to like Port of Morrow.

Stand out tracks: “Simple Song,” “No Way Down”

Video from the album:

The Shins
“Simple Song”
Port of Morrow

The Shoes Crack My Bones Review

The Shoes, a French electro act, quietly released Crack My Bones last year. A recent music video for “Time to Dance” featuring Jake Gyllenhaal has stirred up new interest in this 2011 release.

The Shoes Crack My Bones

Crack My Bones feels kind of short, clocking in at under 39 minutes in length. It seems like it’s over just after you start it. The sound ranges from catchy dance track (“Time to Dance” and “Bored”) to unintentionally ironic (“Cliche”). “Time to Dance” is the definitely the single that will draw people to check out The Shoes – this song brought them my attention.

There isn’t much to take away from Crack My Bones. “Time to Dance” is really enjoyable. “Bored” and “Investigator” seemed to rise above the other tracks, but don’t have what it takes to become popular singles. As a whole, the album is uninspired, sounding very indistinguishable from other artists. Other than the songs I mentioned, it is a pass.

Verdict: “Time to Dance” is a song everyone will enjoy. It’s a diamond single lost in the rough. I can’t recommend this song enough. The rest of Crack My Bones comes up short.

Stand out track: “Time to Dance.”

Video from the album:

The Shoes
“Time to Dance”
Crack My Bones

Upcoming Reviews

Things have been slow on the music front.  I haven’t been able to find albums I have much interest in.  However, there are a few upcoming releases I’m looking forward to:

  • The Shins Port of Morrow 
  • Miike Snow Happy to You
  • Orbital Wonky
  • M. Ward A Wasteland Companion
  • Deltron 3030 Positive Contact

I’m always on the look out for new things. Leave your suggestions for album reviews in the comments section below.

WZRD Review

Kid Cudi and Dot da Genius come together to form WZRD, an experimental rap-rock duo featuring lots of guitars and Cudi’s halted delivery. This self-titled album is not what you would expect from this group.

WZRD

Anyone familiar with Kid Cudi will expect much of the same from WZRD. The vocals and lyrics on the album are distinctly Cudi. He alternates between crooning and rapping about life lessons, feeling like he’s different from everyone else, and how his perspective on things has changed as he has grown older. Lyrically, WZRD tells the tale of an angsty teen who has become an adult and realizes how much more there is to life.

WZRD doesn’t go too deep on an intellectual level, but I relate to some of things they sing about.  I like that I can empathize, even if there isn’t much complexity to it. It’s emo music for adults. That may sound like a insult, but it’s not. I really like to see artists’ content mature as they get older. The reason I’ve moved away from certain types of music, such as punk rock, is that it did not mature with me.  It stayed the same as I grew up and moved on. On some level, leaving behind immaturity is the basis for WZRD. One could say that it’s also an attempt to leave behind the previous sound of Kid Cudi for something new as well. That’s meta.

The sound is not at all what I expected. I expected another Kid Cudi album, but got something closer to rap-rock. Thankfully, it’s not the rap-rock of the 90s and early 2000s. It’s experimental rap-rock that incorporating a minimal beat, lots of guitars, some electronic elements, and, for the most part, Kid Cudi’s vocals sounding exactly like what you’d expect.

For those of you who saw the movie Drive, you’ll notice that Desire “Under Your Spell” was sampled on “Teleport 2 Me, Jamie.”  I think WZRD did a good job of adding their lyrics to the song, while keeping the same underlying feeling of the original.

I’m sure people will talk about WZRD’s cover of Nirvana’s take on “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” All I can say is that I wasn’t expecting it. Nirvana’s version is somewhat dear to me, so another version is unlikely to replace it’s spot in my heart.

WZRD isn’t perfect, but it is enjoyable. The only major downside is that the non-singles are somewhat indistinguishable from each other. These audio wallflowers should be ignored for the few that deserve your attention.

I was at a wedding this weekend and didn’t get to have a listening party. Leave your comments below!

Stand out track: “High Off Life”

WZRD
“High Off Life”
WZRD