The Shins | A Worm’s Heart | Album Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Record Label: Columbia Records
Photo courtesy of Pitchfork

In 2017, The Shins released their album Heartworms with a master plan. Since its release, frontman James Mercer had the desire—thanks to his wife’s suggestion over breakfast—to create a “flipped” version of the album. On Jan 19., they released the reimagined full-length album, calling it A Worm’s Heart—which in fact was recorded immediately after Heartworms. Every track has been restyled in an opposite fashion. The fast tracks are slow, and slow tracks have been given a speedy, effective makeover; even the order of tracks on A Worm’s Heart has been reversed.

The beginning of “The Fear” now has a cheery garage jam with reverberating vocals, while the previously  chipper  “Cherry Hearts” sounds newly strained and pained. The guitar riffs are bright and repetitive. “Painting a Hole” kept the integrity of its originally, airy, acoustic, and comforting breakfast table sound, where the whole idea for the flipped album started.

The Shins aren’t the first group to take on a flipped version of a previous album. Kendrick Lamar and Lucinda Williams have both recently tackled opposite-styled themes; Lamar reversed the track order of the album DAMN. without re-recording any music, and in honor of its 25th anniversary, Williams re-recorded her 1992 album One Sweet World.

Shins fans can rest assured that Mercer and crew have accomplished the feat beautifully, delivering a feast for the ears. This reversed and revitalized version gives the listener an alternate reality on how the music was intended.

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