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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.

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