User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
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  1. Mar 10, 2017
    8
    Definitely a record that explores their lo-fi electronic sound more. There's some nice vocal samples and harmonies throughout. Mercer has proved again that he is a fantastic producer as well as musician. Although the pad synths get kind of old after a while. Definitely a record to check out!
  2. May 16, 2017
    8
    From the amazingly steady tunefulness to the wonderfully audacious synthetic textures, this is one of the year’s best albums, and while it doesn’t create anything ultramodern or cohesive for big avant-grade fans, it’s the consistently brilliant songwriting that gives the album importance. My Score: 149/180 (Great) = 8.3/10
  3. Mar 17, 2017
    8
    Several years back, James Mercer and Danger Mouse tried to wed the Shins' sound with a pop sensibility on the Broken Bells albums, with mixed results. I guess Mr. Mercer didn't give up on this idea because he finally succeeded on the new Shins album, Heartworms. This album is the Shins' most pop-oriented album, yet it still sounds like the Shins (which is a good thing). The band's music isSeveral years back, James Mercer and Danger Mouse tried to wed the Shins' sound with a pop sensibility on the Broken Bells albums, with mixed results. I guess Mr. Mercer didn't give up on this idea because he finally succeeded on the new Shins album, Heartworms. This album is the Shins' most pop-oriented album, yet it still sounds like the Shins (which is a good thing). The band's music is funkier and more dance-oriented, yet the wide-eyed optimism and yearning and intelligent lyrics remain. This is indie pop for wistful, romantic intellectuals. Heartworms is very gratifying and enjoyable. It's one of the Shins' strongest albums and one of the best albums of the year so far. Expand
  4. Mar 11, 2017
    10
    This album is a career high, up there with the best Shins albums. I've been a fan since New Slang. I thought that James' songwriting had lost it's heart-tugs and unexpected twists, but not here. It sounds like he fell in love again, with someone or something. Don't be put off by the interesting production, it's super legit, they've never just been guitar bass and drums. And the whole thingThis album is a career high, up there with the best Shins albums. I've been a fan since New Slang. I thought that James' songwriting had lost it's heart-tugs and unexpected twists, but not here. It sounds like he fell in love again, with someone or something. Don't be put off by the interesting production, it's super legit, they've never just been guitar bass and drums. And the whole thing is a grower. It took 3 or 4 casual listens and now I'm hooked, just like I was first time round. Expand
  5. Apr 15, 2017
    9
    Pop genius from the Shins. Songs that are really endearing. Lots of quirky electronic sounds while retaining a simple listenability. Near perfection.
  6. Mar 14, 2017
    7
    Despite having a few duds (Cherry Hearts, Half a Million), this new Shins album is exactly what Shins fans could want. The songs on here are more upbeat and catchy than what we've heard from The Shins before, with songs like Name for You and Painting a Hole, and even the two "duds" I mentioned earlier. As always, the lyrics are great, and a number of the songs here get really emotional,Despite having a few duds (Cherry Hearts, Half a Million), this new Shins album is exactly what Shins fans could want. The songs on here are more upbeat and catchy than what we've heard from The Shins before, with songs like Name for You and Painting a Hole, and even the two "duds" I mentioned earlier. As always, the lyrics are great, and a number of the songs here get really emotional, particularly my three favorite songs on the album, Heartworms, Fantasy Island and The Fear. The song So Now What is also great, with a hook that has a hard time escaping your head. Again, the album is not perfect, but it's a lot better than Port of Morrow, which I thought was just OK, with a lot of dull and generic songs. This is an improvement, but The Shins are still not really experimenting or moving forward a lot. They're just... The Shins, and will probably always be The Shins. But still, this album satisfied me as a Shins fan. Expand
  7. Mar 10, 2017
    10
    The Shins are back and they're certainly bringing their A-game. Bringing, pop, rock, folk, country, and new wave sensibilities and melding them all together to create some of the best music the Shins have ever created... in my opinion. I can however see why some fans may be disappointing, this is not the Shins of old, nor is it a brand new Shins, it is somewhere in between the two, with,The Shins are back and they're certainly bringing their A-game. Bringing, pop, rock, folk, country, and new wave sensibilities and melding them all together to create some of the best music the Shins have ever created... in my opinion. I can however see why some fans may be disappointing, this is not the Shins of old, nor is it a brand new Shins, it is somewhere in between the two, with, both, moments heralding back to their first three albums and moments that take you completely by surprise. For me, this album is near perfect with standout tracks such as Fantasy Island, Mildenhall, Rubber Ballz, Half a Million, Heartworms and So Now What. Expand
  8. Mar 11, 2017
    10
    The Shins will save your life!!
    This album, albeit different, still feels like I'm listening to the Shins. It contains a more electronic feel than and of the previous albums which was the hardest part for me to get on board with. The first song name for you opens the album with one catchy rift and a single hipnotic line. Dare I say I was worried when I listened to it at the start but by
    The Shins will save your life!!
    This album, albeit different, still feels like I'm listening to the Shins. It contains a more electronic feel than and of the previous albums which was the hardest part for me to get on board with. The first song name for you opens the album with one catchy rift and a single hipnotic line. Dare I say I was worried when I listened to it at the start but by the end the song captures everything I love about the Shins and all my doubts are abolished. Paint a hole is definitely the outcast of the album but not a pad song. This is classic Shins as in it takes a while to get hooked on it. Cherry hearts starts to play more like what you'd expect and then fantasy island is such a beautiful little song. The show stealer here is Mildenhall. It's about Mercer's time in the UK. What I didn't know was that Mercer lived in Mildenhall, which is where I live! What a shock. It added some emotional impact for me but taking that away the song is still beautiful and has some much resonance with the listener. This song is definitely as good as songs like 'new slang', 'simple song', 'split needles', 'a comet appears', 'gone for good' and so many more!
    The b side of the album steps the both up further with rubber ballz which is just so much fun to listen to; half a million and dead alive are more like some of the Shins other works so they are a nice placement in the album. So now what is stellar work from Mercer. It is the catchiest song on the album and it will not disappointed or lower in impact on second listening. Heartworms feels like a song paying homage to the British music love Mercer mentions in Mildenhall. This gives these two songs a relationship I feel as Mildenhall is all about that 80's feel and heartworms feels like a 80's indie classic.
    The best album closing song I have ever heard on any album is 'a comet apears' so 'the fear' tries its best and has my approval but doesn't match 'wincing the night alway's' closing song. Definitely a beautiful piece of art though.
    I've seen some bad reviews for this album. Some moaning about lack of originality etc. but I don't get that. This is nothing like any work Mercer has done before. The electric feel takes away slightly from the experience and doesn't feel like a direction the Shins would've gone in, but the electronic feel is used sparingly which actually makes it rather brilliant.
    Overall:
    Name for you; 9.1/10
    Paint a hole; 8.9/10
    Cherry hearts; 9.3/10
    Fantasy island; 9.4/10
    Mildenhall; 9.9/10
    Rubber ballz; 9.6/10
    Half a million; 9.4/10
    Dead Alive; 9.4/10
    Heartworms; 9.6/10
    So now what; 9.8/10
    The fear; 9.5/10
    Overall:9.5/10
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Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Magnet
    May 18, 2017
    70
    Heartworms is a slow-burning grower that rewards repeat listens but requires some commitment to love. [No. 142, p.58]
  2. 80
    Overall Mercer’s songwriting creds are well in tact.
  3. Mar 16, 2017
    60
    Heartworms is 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.