The Shins are an American indie rock band formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1996. Its current lineup is James Mercer (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, songwriter), Jon Sortland (drums), Mark Watrous (guitar, keyboards), Casey Foubert (guitar), Yuuki Matthews (bass, keyboards), and Patti King (keyboards). They are based in Portland, Oregon. Following this, the Shins signed to Columbia Records and Mercer parted ways with the entire original lineup, deeming it “an aesthetic decision.” Following a nearly five-year hiatus, Port of Morrow, the band’s fourth studio album, was released in 2012. Their fifth album, Heartworms, was released in March 2017. Here are all of The Shins albums ranked.
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6. The Worm’s Heart, 2018
“I wouldn’t really consider this an album on it’s own but it’s a creative project. I think Heartworms was a great pick for this concept to be tried out on because it’s certainly a bit over the place in general. Does this album have any replay value? No, it doesn’t. But is this one of James Mercer’s wild creativity? Yes. Yes it is.”
5. Heartworms, 2017
“The Shins have continued to put out great albums, they are all quite similar and they don’t stray too far from their comfort zone. I personally don’t need them too. I’m happy with this. The complaints that production feels a bit heavy handed are not unwarranted though. I think we would all prefer a more organic and heartfelt effort where the electronic noises aren’t drowning out the awesome melodies that James Mercer always seems to effortlessly produce.”
4. Port Of Morrow, 2012
“The Shins were one of my favourite bands of the 2010’s and ‘Port of Morrow’ was eagerly anticipated. Sadly this album lacks the edge of the albums that preceded this release. This album is just too silky smooth, a bit like the Broken Bells debut album – it has it’s moments, but ultimately I am left with the feeling that this album is all surface, and lacks in the depth previously offered.”
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3. Wincing The Night Away, 2007
“I remember back when this album came out I was in upstate NY going to some bullshit summer camp for nerds and there was a radio station that played “Phantom Limb” all the time, along with Modest Mouse and They Might Be Giants and XTC and, um, the Night watchman. I was so happy. Those were more innocent times.”
2. Oh, Inverted World, 2001
“I keep returning to this album which must be a good sign! Perhaps not as accomplished as their later albums, but regardless this debut has much to offer. Just check out all those original song titles… and the track ‘New Slang’ is one of their best.”
1. Chutes Too Narrow, 2003
“Chutes Too Narrow is one of those albums that works equally well as a cohesive artistic statement and as a collection of distinct songs. Every track is easily distinguishable, and apart from the sleepy closer “Those to Come” every one has an instantly memorable hook or bridge. This is aided by Mercer’s tendency to oscillate between energetic guitar-driven rockers and relatively stripped-down acoustic ballads.”