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[Album Review] The Shins – The Worm’s Heart

The Shins are a curious sort of band, somehow always seeming to drift quietly in the overflowing waters that fill the endless sea of indie music, reach periodic acclaim, disappear in the ether, only to then come up and to spontaneously rear their heads in the expanse all over again. It was after a five-year hiatus when in March 2017, The indie pop/folk band The Shins had released their album Heartworms. Heartworms was a stunning accomplishment that combined the band’s original eclectic and experimental brand of indie folk with their more recent pop-ish output that started with 2007’s Wincing The Night Away, and now with just under a year since their last album, the band has released The Worm’s Heart, a sister album to Heartworms.

The Worm’s Heart aims to re-imagine its predecessor track by track with completely new instrumentals and vocal takes, to construct an ambitious sort of remix album that is rarely seen and is strangely most comparable to Alt-Rock band Linkin Park’s 2002 album Reanimation in scope. But how does it hold up to the original? “The Fear (Flipped)” turns the original’s tropical and string-heavy ethereal symphonic epic into a slow jam, with a slamming bass-line. “Mildenhall”’s acoustic folk is now an acid blues-eqsue joint with heavily distorted guitars and rolling percussion. “Name for You” transforms electric pop into a spastic disco dance-a-long. Oppositely, Rubber Ballz’s bouncy synths have now become an acoustic ensemble in “Rubber Ballz (Flipped)”. To be honest, on average, whether it is out of newness, out of familiarity or, bespoke loyalty, I seem to find myself listening to the original songs more often. While I think it’s clear that The Worm’s Heart lacks a great deal of cohesion, I still believe it has a lot of interesting and competent takes which do not demonstrate any outright bad reinterpretations of the original album’s tracks, and in time I may even prefer them, but for now, not quite.

Essential Tracks:

Mildenhall (Flipped)
Painting a Hole (Flipped)
Rubber Ballz (Flipped)
Name For You (Flipped)

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