The Shins: The Worm's Heart (Columbia) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Shins

The Worm’s Heart


Feb 20, 2018 The Shins Bookmark and Share

It’s not a new idea to “revisit” old materialeveryone from Cheap Trick to Joni Mitchell have had a go, but normally, artists will leave a respectful distance between the new version and the old one. In the case of The Shins’ reworking of Heartworms, they’ve only given it a little less than a year.

Maybe Shins leader James Mercer decided that the entire album was a misstep which had to be “corrected.” Maybe he’s shaking off writer’s block. Either way, this is time that could have been better spent and only two or three of these rerecording’s bear repeated listens. The 2018 version of “Painting a Hole” swaps the original recording’s mannered vocal for a more conversational tone and a sparser arrangement to great effect, while “Cherry Hearts” is stripped of its electronica and is reborn as the power pop tune it probably once was. Unfortunately, these are rare successes.

The Worm’s Heart is a curiously pointless release and coming so soon after the first version does it no favors at all. Just because, as the writer/creator of these pieces, Mercer has the right to go back and reassemble these songs into myriad weird and not-so-wonderful shapes, doesn’t necessarily mean that he should. (

Author rating: 5/10

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