Shins blend old and new with ablum “Heartworms”

Yuuki Matthews and James Mercer of The Shins perform live Sept. 23, 2016 at the Life Is Beautiful Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nev.
Long-time Shins fans and casual listeners alike can enjoy the home-grown, comfortable indie rock sound that dominates their newest album, “Heartworms.” The album manages to utilize reminiscent lyrics and sounds that echo their earliest albums while also offering some new and unique sounds.

Album opener “Name For You” sets an upbeat, feel-good tone with hopeful and empowering lyrics which criticize labels. The natural, instrumentally-dominated sound is familiar and enjoyable, if not particularly attention-getting.

This contrasts with the second song, “Painting a Hole,” which boasts a synth-filled psychedelic sound and lyrics that are both puzzling and intriguing. Much of the album alternates between “Name For You’s” traditional instrumental sound and the trippy vibe of “Painting a Hole.”

The other standout song on the album is “Mildenhall,” which blends the reminiscent lyrics that are present throughout the album with a distinct folksy style. Singer James Mercer’s voice is clear and crisp in this song, which contrasts sharply to the album’s usual instrumentally-dominated songs.

All together, this makes for an album that that is comfortable and familiar without being tired or boring. It manages to look back at the band’s old music and memories while also offering interesting new sounds to the indie-rock genre.

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