The first real Shins music we’ve had since 2012, The Shins have released “Heartworms” and it’s an admirable collection of work. It’s not as big of a risk-taking album as “Port of Morrow” was, but the album has The Shins back to making wistful pop music, the way they like to.
When I say Shins, I mean Shin. After all, James Mercer wrote everything on this album and produced it all too. His production sounds better than the last Shins album and he adds the perfect nuances to every song on this 11-song journey. The production is solid, and musically this album doesn’t do too much different than what the band did outside of the last record five years ago. There’s still some wonderfully weird reverb all over the album and the guitars are played and recorded to be instantly identifiable as music from The Shins. What’s interesting about this album is Mercer’s songwriting. He’s writing from the place of a middle-aged man, because that’s what he is, rather than the place of an emotional 20 something. There’s some different lyrical content here because of that.
The Shins “Heartworms” isn’t going to blow your mind the way the first album did when we heard it for the first time more than a decade ago, but it will keep you entertained. Regardless, it’s going to make fans of the band very happy.