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The Shins are on an uncertain creative path 

click to enlarge The Shins, "Heartworms"
  • The Shins, "Heartworms"

Since James Mercer first formed The Shins from the ruins of Albuquerque’s Flake Music 20 years ago, he has alienated more band members and label collaborators than most songwriters. Heartworms is the band’s first album in five years, and is all about reinvention. Part of Mercer’s motivation in moving to side projects like Broken Bells may well have been to give fences time to mend. But in placing The Shins’ center of gravity in keyboardist Yuuki Matthews, Mercer ends up with a synth-pop outfit rarely capable of showing the strength of the band’s 2001 classic Oh Inverted World. When Mercer relies on personal and historical storytelling in tracks like “Mildenhall” and ‘So Now What,” The Shins come close to their most inspiring moments. Hard to say whether Mercer will allow The Shins to continue along this creative path or once again burn the fields.
File next to: Broken Bells, The Postal Service, Local Natives

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