Some artists have difficulty reinventing themselves or putting out new content after being in the world of music for awhile. However, in James Mercer’s lengthy music career, this has yet to happen. Following the 2017 release of Heartworms – an album five years in the making – Albuquerque-based rock group The Shins just dropped The Worm’s Heart on January 19. The Worm’s Heart is a flipped album that discombobulates the track listing, instrumentals, and mood of Heartworms. The Shins as a band has always metamorphosed throughout the years, and The Worm’s Heart is only more proof of Mercer’s ability to appeal to a variety of genres and ears while maintaining an authentic sound.

It ends with “Name For It”, while Heartworms starts with that track. “Fantasy Island” changes from nostalgic and slightly morbid to a completely different, upbeat sound – almost as if Buddy Holly and David Bowie remixed it together – and it totally works. As one might expect from a guitar rock group, the guitar on the flipped version of “Mildenhall” is absolutely spectacular, and is one of the best reinventions on The Worm’s Heart. It’s the perfect jam sesh song, whether you’re stuck in traffic or rocking out with friends. “Name For It” is flipped from an upbeat bop on Heartworms to a moody, synth-filled track on The Worm’s Heart. The flipped version of “Cherry Hearts” sounds Beatles-esque, while the original on Heartworms is a definitively 21st century, light electronica song.

By retaining the original lyrics but providing each track with a completely new sound, The Shins display their versatility, talent, and ability to put forth quality content to appeal to a variety of ears. If you already had trouble picking a favorite track on Heartworms, get ready for even more competition for your most-loved song on The Worm’s Heart. The Worm’s Heart is a treasure trove of synth, retro vibes, and a touch into various genres. It’s an absolute treat for the ears, and a fantastic tribute to The Shins’ ability to reincarnate their own music. Last, but certainly not least, the album art for both Heartworms and The Worm’s Heart is AMAZING! Who doesn’t love a good ol’ dark-floral-and-skulls thematic landscape? Mixing the perfect amount of edgy with wistful, The Worm’s Heart is sure to please both old and new fans of The Shins.

The Worm’s Heart

  1. The Fear (Flipped)        
  2. So Now What (Flipped)             
  3. Heartworms (Flipped)
  4. Dead Alive (Flipped)    
  5. Half a Million (Flipped)   
  6. Rubber Ballz (Flipped)
  7. Mildenhall (Flipped)     
  8. Fantasy Island (Flipped)    
  9. Cherry Hearts (Flipped)              
  10. Painting a Hole (Flipped)           
  11. Name For You (Flipped)

Check out The Worm’s Heart now, available to stream on Spotify and for purchase on iTunes.

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Veronica DeFeo