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Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critic Reviews What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth full-length release for the indie-pop rock band was self-produced by James Mercer.
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Top Track

So Now What
I had this crazy idea Somehow we're close to the end Change lives in every direction Guess we'll just begin again Oh girl, it's been a while Since... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 83
    True to the band’s spirit, but willing to push beyond aesthetically, Heartworms is a rewarding and singular addition to the Shins’ catalog.
  2. Q Magazine
    Feb 24, 2017
    80
    An utter gem. [Apr 2017, p.110]
  3. Mar 8, 2017
    80
    The evolution and maturation of The Shins might continue at its steady pace with this record, but it’s all the better for the sense of nostalgia that pervades it, seeping from both its music and its lyrics.
  4. Mar 9, 2017
    70
    Although the core songwriting is never quite as captivating and merciful as it was on previous albums, Heartworms nonetheless has an adventurous outer shell, and the Shins seem to revel in the newfound space inside of it.
  5. Mar 16, 2017
    70
    “Painting a Hole” piles on more, including a stomping drum beat and a vaguely Middle Eastern synth line, while flavors of 1980s new wave crop up in “Cherry Hearts” and “Rubber Ballz,” each a vivid reflection of the deep record-nerd knowledge that Mercer played down on “Port of Morrow.”
  6. 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.
  7. Mar 7, 2017
    20
    Aimless and fussy, Heartworms sounds like the kind of album a person with slightly too much money, their own studio and a massive ego would make. Crushingly disappointing, this is, alas, no return to form.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. 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 lostThis 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
  2. 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 meldingThe 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
  3. 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
    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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  4. 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 mixedSeveral 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
  5. 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 hasDefinitely 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! Expand
  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 areDespite 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 13, 2017
    2
    Three words – Shins By Numbers. Even my 10 year old could see through this one straight away. As everyone knows the first two were sublimeThree words – Shins By Numbers. Even my 10 year old could see through this one straight away. As everyone knows the first two were sublime masterpieces. Bits of Wincing were very good, especially Phantom Limb. For whatever reason James Mercer decided to go it alone, sacking the original line up. Ever since then it’s been a slow descent, and now this. Pitchfork, that once bastion of objective reporting actually gives this a 7.8, proclaiming it the best since ‘Inverted World’. Oh how I wish it was, but my ears don’t lie. With every new album, the hope is that Mercer’s found his elusive mojo, perhaps it’s been lost for good. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews