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The Shins’ myriad influences bleed all over their new single, “Simple Song,” the first from new album “Port of Morrow.”
Head Shin James Mercer realigned the band over the last few years and this iteration provides some muscle and a little more heft. Hence, after opening with a very melodic Brian Wilson-esque feel, the tune grabs onto a Who-like guitar and drum rift before adding a sparkly glockenspiel later on. There’s a lot going on musically, but it never gets messy. It’s charming and it’s also about four songs in one.
The song, which streams for free today before going on sale on iTunes tomorrow, is about his girlfriend Mercer revealed when he first unveiled it at a small Shins concert last month. “I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone, don’t go thinking you gotta be tough and play like a stone,” he sings over a cascading piano.
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We’ve embedded it here, but it’s also really fun to play it on the reel-to-reel deck from http://simplesong.theshins.com/. The reels even move when you rewind and they make that squeaky noise of tape running backward. (This all ties in to the album packaging: there is a deluxe version that offers consumers the digital download and a 1/4” reel-to-reel version).
“Port of Morrow,” out March 20, is the band’s first for Columbia (via Mercer’s Aural Apothecary label) and its first since 2007’s “Wincing The Night Away" on Sub Pop. Mercer wrote all the songs and played guitar, lap steel, percussion and glockenspiel on the Greg Kurstin-produced set, which is one of the most anticipated albums of 2012. Fans who order “Port of Morrow” in advance will also receive the non-LP track “Pariah King.”
The band’s first tour dates are below. In addition to Mercer, the Shins are now Yuuki Matthews (bass), Jessica Dobson (guitar), Richard Swift (keyboards) and Joe Plummer (drums).
4/13/12 Las Vegas, NV Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - The Pool
4/22/12 Santa Cruz, CA Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
4/23/12 Davis, CA Robert Mondavi Center
4/25/12 Reno, NV Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
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