James Mercer is a recording artist. Born in the fires of the studio, from The Shins to Broken Bells, his sonic exploits always seem to sound better peppered with the subtle perfection of his buffet of pop accents. Thus the beginning of Port Of Morrow
leads off with the best footwith bubbly chimes, zaps, and aerated drums lifting Mercer's signature timbre into battered lyrics, "The Rifle's Spiral" shows Mercer's lyricism and melodicism both remain intact from Oh, Inverted
to "Australia," and beyond. It's strange that songs like "Simple Song" feel so flat on SNL
but spring to life here-- proving the importance of sound design, and just how much Mercer's creations depend on the details.