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The Shins photo by Nikki Fenix | courtesy of the artist

Last year, America’s obsession with dancehall reached critical mass with Drake’s smash hit “One Dance”. In the months that followed, its influence was all but inescapable in mainstream rap and pop, but never in my wildest dreams did i imagine it would make its way to The Shins. The singles leading up to their new album Heartworms have thus far stayed true to form for the band, but on new cut “Painting a Hole,” they employ a slowed-down take on the dancehall groove to bizarre effect. What’s even more bizarre is that it actually kind of works. Stream the track below.

Painting a fake escape route has been a tried-and-true gag for decades, but it was perhaps most famously used in Looney Tunes’ classic Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner series. Here, Shins headman James Mercer uses it as a metaphor to describe someone in way over their head, asking the alleged painter if they can “crawl up inside it”, but the cartoon influence doesn’t stop at the lyrics. The vocals on this thing are borderline unhinged, while the rotating cast of instrumentation lurking under the deep, skipping groove keeps you guessing. Maybe Heartworms has a few more tricks up its sleeve than we thought.

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