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Symphonic Roulette! The Shins

MOOMINS! Look! On the cover! It’s a Hattifattener! That was my first reaction to the cover of this CD – Port of Morrow by The Shins. I chose it for this edition of Symphonic Roulette for no other reason. Tove Jansson’s children’s books featuring an irrepressible family of hippo-like Moomin creatures is one of my favourite things in all the world. I was really hoping that I might have stumbled upon something equally as awesome with this album. But what I found, merely prompted a disappointed shoulder shrug of ‘meh’.

The Shins: Port of Morrow

Words to describe this album: Nice. Safe. Simple. Unobtrusive. Backing-track-ish. (Actually, it might suit a Moomin movie adaptation!) Simple Song and Bait and Switch have a very 60s ‘beach-boy-ey’, clean sound. It’s catchy but not moving enough to grab me. There’s some nice falsetto work in the titular track which grew on me over successive listens – a little. With my last roll of the symphonic roulette wheel, I found The Swell Season’s Strict Joy, where Glen Hansard’s delivery grabbed me by the throat and shook me into buying all his records after the first listen. A bit of an unfair comparison then. Port of Morrow is a very nice album, but I just don’t feel moved to listen to it again. It just wasn’t really my cup of Moccona – “It heft no meer mmmmmm”, which is a shame, because I really do love the Moomin-themed cover art!

Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson p. 123

Note: Although the Port of Morrow album artwork made me think of the Hattifatteners, I thinks it’s this image which really drew the connection to the Moomin series for me. Moomintroll, the Snork and the Snork maiden are exploring the bottom of the ocean after a comet makes the tide go out. They make camp on a steep hill and watch the oncoming comet. Perhaps I’m just imagining it!?

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