‘Heartworms’ is the first Shins album in five years, and the first to be produced by auteur James Mercer since their 2001 debut, ‘Oh, Inverted World.’ It is also only the second since relieving his fellow Shins of their duties back in 2011 in order to take back artistic control. And yet, while all of this might suggest the turning of a page, ‘Heartworms’ is, disappointingly, very much business as usual.
That’s not to say it’s bad. For long-time fans – the kind who cherished ‘New Slang’ before Natalie Portman handed her headphones to Zach Braff – this will be a welcome addition. Its scenes are intimate and Mercer is direct in a way that he hasn’t been before as he explores ageing and parenthood from the vantage of his 46 years. ‘Fantasy Island,’ for example, looks back at his childhood – setting off fire alarms in school for attention, constantly daydreaming – and reflects on his adulthood, something which he still hasn’t quite gotten to grips with. ‘Mildenhall’ is a very-much-literal account of Mercer’s teenage relocation to Suffolk in order to accommodate his father’s military career.
It’s touching, it’s heart-warming. Was it worth the five-year wait? Not really. ‘Heartworms’ is a decent Shins album without ever being great. Can I describe it in three words? Yes. Safe, safe, safe.
Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines
As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.
Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £3 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£6 per month) and the rest of the world (£8 per month).
It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.