Albums to watch


The Shins


Fifth album from the Albuquerque, New Mexico indie rock band produced by frontman James Mercer

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  1. 8.4 |   Gig Soup

    Another earworm mix of songs that provide musical medicine for both new music listeners and faithful Shin lovers
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  2. 8.0 |   NME

    The Shins in 2017 possibly aren’t life changing, but overall Mercer’s songwriting creds are well in tact
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  3. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    James Mercer and co are back with a melodic tour de force
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  4. 8.0 |   The Music

    If Heartworms was the first Shins record you'd heard, you'd be surprised to know that the band has been around for more than 20 years
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  5. 8.0 |   music OMH

    The evolution and maturation of The Shins might continue at its steady pace with this record, but it’s all the better for the sense of nostalgia that pervades it, seeping from both its music and its lyrics
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  6. 8.0 |   The Independent

    Sketching autobiographical situations whose particularity evades pop’s more humdrum cliches
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  7. 8.0 |   Q

    An utter gem. Print edition only

  8. 8.0 |   Uncut

    Hyperactively wordy and exquisitely tuneful. Print edition only

  9. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Another fine crop of pop Print edition only

  10. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    The totality of the record is enough to engulf listeners in myriad textures accomplished via sound and vision
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  11. 7.9 |   Earbuddy

    It’s always a joy to hear Mercer’s roundabout ear for writing and singing applied to the unique sound he has established for the group. Which is just him
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  12. 7.6 |   Pitchfork

    The most hermetic LP James Mercer has released since 2001’s Oh, Inverted World. His gift for making fussy arrangements seem effortless remains unparalleled
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  13. 7.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Mercer’s voice and turns of phrase full of paradox make this an intricate album
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  14. 7.5 |   A.V. Club

    Deceptively sunny, psych-tinged
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  15. 7.1 |   Paste Magazine

    Heartworms glimpses something deeper than Mercer’s moods: his spirit
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  16. 7.0 |   All Music

    Though it takes a few listens to get to the heart of Heartworms, fans who have stuck with Mercer for this long will find it time well spent
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  17. 7.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    Heartworms has to answer a different question entirely: where do the Shins go from here?
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  18. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Heartworms has more of a home-brewed feel, heavy on Beach Boys grandeur, New Wave kicks, squiggly synth-pop and warm-weather soft rock
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  19. 7.0 |   Exclaim

    Although the core songwriting is never quite as captivating and merciful as it was on previous albums, Heartworms nonetheless has an adventurous outer shell
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  20. 7.0 |   Under The Radar

    One thing that remains strong is Mercer's ability to craft songs that are always interesting, otherworldly, and transport you to another universe
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  21. 6.0 |   No Ripcord

    For all that Mercer tries to achieve in Heartworms, and as is usually the case with most of The Shins’ catalogue, the strongest cuts are often the ones that uncover little details with emotional nuances and careful articulation
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  22. 6.0 |   DIY

    Five years after the big, bright ‘Port Of Morrow’, James Mercer is more contemplative
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  23. 6.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    A decent Shins album without ever being great
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  24. 6.0 |   Slant Magazine

    Throughout Heartworms, James Mercer ruminates on aging by contrasting his present with his past
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  25. 6.0 |   State

    The Shins haven’t quite cracked what contemporary indie music should sound like – but they have evolved to ensure that they’re not irrelevant
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  26. 6.0 |   The 405

    Just a few puzzle pieces shy of being great, and that’s a damn shame
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  27. 6.0 |   The Guardian

    An album of tinkering and pootling, the sound of a man reminiscing on life, referencing his favourite records – less rock star, more bloke living out his hobby from the comfort of a suburban garage
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  28. 5.8 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    The Shins may get a bad rap, but this time, it doesn’t seem unfair
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  29. 5.0 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    A brightly colored mess
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  30. 5.0 |   PopMatters

    Heartworms is a sonic course correction from 2012's Port of Morrow, but the songwriting is still spotty, so it's simply too little, too late
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  31. 5.0 |   Crack

    Turning his memories into just another teen movie, Heartworms can’t shake the weight of Mercer’s own expectations
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  32. 2.0 |   The Skinny

    Aimless and fussy, Heartworms sounds like the kind of album a person with slightly too much money, their own studio and a massive ego would make
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The Shins: Heartworms

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