There are a few rules that I have long adhered to when it comes to claiming that one thing is like another.
First, unless a politician is openly and actively pursuing world domination and the total extermination of an entire ethnic and/or religious group, do not compare him or her to Adolf Hitler. Secondly, unless a new CD is (a) the best one that you have heard so far in a given year, (b) better than any CD that you heard the year before, and (c) probably better than anything that you are going to hear in the following year, do not compare it to anything by The Shins.
Now that I have heard the Portland, Oregon-based band’s latest release, Port of Morrow, Rule #2 is hereby repealed.
I first heard The Shins in early 2004, several months after they released their second album and just in time for me to not have to give any credit to Zach Braff or Natalie Portman for their having changed my life. Chutes Too Narrow was the best new CD that I had heard in a long time, but that isn’t saying much because I had only recently made it a point to update my music collection with some non-classic rock. The fact that I still consider it to be pretty much the best CD of the 00s is saying a bit more.
One particular lyric Port of Morrow sums up The Shins catalog now that in includes this album: “Cause every single story is a story about love, both the overflowing cup and the painful lack thereof.”
The Shins’ first three releases were overflowing cups of awesome songs. Port of Morrow is defined by the painful lack of them.
And speaking of lyrics, “For a Fool” probably isn’t the wisest place for the words “stuck in my head like a terrible song.”
Maybe it actually matters that only one of The Shins who played on any of those other albums plays on this one. But hey, The Smiths had Meat Is Murder, and even some people’s Swiss watches are at least temporarily incorrect once or twice a year.
“The Rifle’s Spiral” are “Simple Song” definitely highlights, and not just by comparison. Download them, and maybe one other of your choice.
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