The Shins/Instagram
Karen Belz
August 15, 2016 11:12 am

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve heard new music by The Shins. In fact, based on the time lapse (and the band shakeup — 2009 saw the departure of Dave Hernandez, Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval, the latter two being with the band since the beginning stages) fans thought they’d be clutching their copy of Wincing the Night Away close, as the 2007 release was the last album that seemed, well, “whole.” (No offense to 2012’s Port of Morrow — it was good, but not totally the same.)

The one mainstay of the band is frontman James Mercer, who was the one that announced the new album was in the midst of being polished and perfected. Here’s what we know about the new album so far:

1. The album will arrive early next year.

Mercer is hoping for a January 2017 release, which means that next year will start out on a good note.

2. The album will sound more like the early Shins.

Again, no offense to Port of Morrow, but… this is exciting. The Shins had some amazing hits on their first three records, and it’d be great to hear more.

3. Mercer thinks that this is his strongest album, lyrically.

It’s always great when musicians grow, and Mercer is no different. In an interview with Pitchfork, Mercer was quoted as saying “I think it’s really strong. I think lyrically, I’m better than I ever was. And I think my songwriting is stronger than it ever was.”

4. A brief sneak-peek has already been posted on Instagram.

It’s not much, but Mercer posted this preview about a month ago. It’s definitely enough to get fans psyched up.

5. The Shins will be touring for a bit throughout September, hopefully debuting some of their new material.

Bonus if you live in Ireland — Mercer and the band will be playing three consecutive dates in Laois.

6. The Shins recently did an hour-long interview on KBOO 90.7 about their new work.

And good news. You can listen to the audio here.

Thanks to The Shins, we’ll be counting down to the new year for a whole new reason.

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