The Shins Sony/Columbia www.theshins.com Oregon-based band The Shins is basically a vehicle for the talents of singer-songwriter James Mercer with a revolving door of musicians. The Shins received a leg-up when their song ‘New Slang’ appeared on 2004’s Garden State movie soundtrack. Heartworms is the band’s fifth album, following on from the top 5 Billboard chart success of 2007’s Wincing
The Night Away and 2012’s Port Of Morrow. It’s a swirling piece of pop rock, with the songs ranging from the ’60s sound of ‘Rubber Ballz’ to the relaxed, Latin-flavoured ‘The Fear’. It’s all fairly retro, with Mercer’s vocals reminiscent of many ’80s Britpop singers. ‘Dead Alive’ is a lighthearted track dealing with figments of imagination, and on ‘Name For You’ Mercer psychoanalyses a female acquaintance. Arty and enjoyable.