James Mercer of The Shins new release “Heartworms” infiltrates the ears as it passes through the brain where it scores a direct hit with the heart. Mercer, the founder of The Shins, and the only original member left provides an abundance of ample skill and excellence to produce another earworm mix of songs that provide musical medicine for both new music listeners and faithful Shin lovers.
Mercer, who looks more and more like he was separated at birth from the American actor, Kevin Spacey, recently told National Public Radio (NPR) that his music is “ … a little bit retro and folky.” This mixture is what makes his latest release the prescription for its unquestionable success. It’s only a matter of time before one of the songs worm their way into an indie film.
Although Mercer’s “Heartworms” is different from the affliction a canine might contract (Dirofilaria immitis,) it has similar imagery in symbolizing a cerebral suggestion that once bitten by his music, his verses and doggerels will infiltrate the heart and produce a feeling of wanting the cure by listening to his music again and again. The album is a euphoric earworm for the soul.
“Name For You,” the first single released from The Shins calls to mind the similar sounds from “Chutes Too Narrow,” and “Wincing The Night Away.” The song infers the idea that women, or girls, should not bend or be labeled by anyone. “Cherry Hearts,” and “Heartworms” will communicate well with those listeners burned by love, when Mercer purrs, “Behind your symmetry lies a fundamental difference. There are those who won the mines and those who crawl.”
The theme of the “Heartworms” is about insecurity, fear, and pain of love and growing up in a scary world. Publicly, Mercer has admitted his battle with depression and anxiety has been fodder for his music. “The Fear,” and “Painting A Hole” portray a crazy world where by which he argues “Every Popsicle enjoyed. Prized away from the firmament. But baby, return to your toys. A little mental hideaway. You’re painting a whole. Can you crawl up inside it?”
The eleven tracks on the album are worthy of putting on continuous shuffle while passing the day away. However, Mercer is at his best when he writes about his real-life experiences. “Mildenhall” the folksy-country styled rhythm masterpiece describes a period in Mercer’s past where his love for skateboarding lost out to his new love: music. “Each night, as I skated home. Started messing with my dad’s guitar. Taught me some chords just to start me off. Whittling away on those rainy days. And that’s how we get to where we are now.”
“Heartworms” is a great investment for the preventive medicine of soothing the soul. Furthermore, those tortured souls who eavesdrop on every word that The Shins produce have a chance to win the band’s first touring van through a contest located at their website. The requirement? Sing any song from the new release and if Mercer loves it, the van is yours! And that’s where we are now.
“Heartworms” is out now via Columbia Records.