Indie-rock veterans The Shins seem to be opting for a freer sound this time around in their latest single from their forthcoming album Heartworms. The song, titled “Painting a Hole,” establishes continuity with Wincing the Night Away and Phantom Limb, two previous albums which featured alternate versions of the song “Spilt Needles,” a song in which singer James Mercer professes that he “had to paint myself a hole and fall inside.”
These songs are, at heart, a profession of self-doubt. “Painting a Hole” takes this all a step further by borrowing psychedelic sounds to illustrate how modes of perception are “polymorphing.” These themes are, of course, not terribly original, but The Shins, with their characteristically brainy songwriting and playful tone, make them seem fresh (after all, they once pulled off the much greater feat of illustrating the failures Communism and Capitalism by means of bad-CGI penguins in “So Says I.”)
Listen to “Painting a Hole” below—beneath that, listen to “Spilt Needles” to compare, and find more info about Heartworms here. You can also listen to previous singles “Mildenhall,” “The Fear,” “Heartworms” and “Dead Alive.” The album comes out a week from today on March 10.