James Mercer is the only remaining original member of the Shins, so supporters could be forgiven for feeling some apprehension about the band's upcoming disc Port of Morrow. Ah, but fear not, fans of plangent guitar-pop. The album's first single "Simple Song" is buoyed by yet another unsinkable Mercer melody and crunchy six-string part. Some light organ and burbling synths also suggest that the Shins' mainman has learned a few production tricks from his Broken Bells partner Danger Mouse.
To hear "Simple Song" you need to sign up for the band's mailing list. Seems, uh, simple. Port of Morrow is due out March 20 via Columbia and Mercer's own Aural Apothecary imprint. The band now consists of Yuuki Matthews (bass), Jessica Dobson (guitar), Richard Swift (keyboards) and Joe Plummer (drums) but folks who played on the album include some ex-Shins and Portland luminaries (Janet Weiss, Dave Hernandez, Marty Crandall, Eric D. Johnson, Ron Lewis and Nik Freitas). Greg Kurstin produced and Rich Costey mixed. The band's tour supporting the album begins April 13 at an unlikely locale — the Pool at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.