Following The Shins’ 2017 album Heartworms and its re-worked version from 2018, The Worm’s Heart, the James Mercer-led group has returned with their first new music since then, a video for “The Great Divide.”
The track contains a blend of The Shins’ classic indie sound with some more contemporary elements, which is essentially what Mercer says of the track: “[It’s] a blend of futurism and nostalgia. We used everything from vintage synthesizers to iPhones, from a sixties Ludwig kit to an 808.” Video director Paul Trillo also said of the visual, “We knew we wanted to craft something as grand as the song; something that was both wildly surreal yet also resonates on a human level. I wanted to place the current state of things, this ‘Great Divide’ we’re going through, within the larger context of the universe.”
The band also shared an alternate version of the song (which is exclusive to Amazon Music), of which Mercer notes:
“When the Shins do a ‘flipped’ version of a song, the goal is always to re-approach the production aesthetic and show a different side to the piece. The idea is that a song properly written can be framed in many different contexts and still remain engaging. Yuuki Matthews, Jon Sortland and I sat down and talked about how we could change things up. The original idea was to treat it like a piano ballad but that soon gave way to Yuuki’s moody post new wave treatment. I immediately loved it and so the direction was established. When we flip a song correctly you should have a hard time picking which version you like best!”
Watch the “The Great Divide” video above, and find the flipped version below.