Review: Heartworms by the Shins

Heartworms by the ShinsIt’s been five years (hey!) since the Shins released Port of Morrow, which is enough time for a change to happen without it being controversial or attracting much attention. The thing is, with their new album Heartworms, it doesn’t quite know what to do, going in a brave new direction before shifting courses midway and heading down a more familiar path. Now, granted, it’s not a shocking shift of sound, but it’s noticeable, in the use of synths and other electronic-aided tricks, a slight move away from the pleasant jangly pop of previous records on tracks like “Name For You”, “Mildenhall” and the surprisingly pastoral “The Fear”. But then, when you get the swing of things and are actually enjoying it – and the new sound is enjoyable – they revert to their more familiar sound, one more dependent on James Mercer’s vocals. It’s not a bad thing, but there’s a bit of whiplash. It’s regrettable, because they were on to something, and we would have allowed the diversion because, hey, the Shins deserve a break, don’t they? [NB]3/5

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