The Shins released two new songs, “Waimanalo” and “Trapped By the Sea”, as part of a new 7-inch series in honor of late bandmate Richard Swift who died in July 2018. Swift was only 41 years old at the time and since his passing, The Shins and other collaborators from Swift’s life got together to create a 7-inch series called The Fug Yep Soundation in his honor. Proceeds from sales of the 7-inch series go towards Swift’s family, MusiCares, and Music Support UK. The first volume of The Fug Yep Soundation came out last year and included Lucius’ covers of “Christmas Time Is Here” and “Keep Me Hanging On.”
The two new songs, “Waimanalo” and “Trapped by the Sea” both written by James Mercer is the first new music The Shins have dropped since their 2017 album Heartworms. The song, “Trapped by the Sea” is about traversing the ocean by boat and pushing up against fear. Lyrics like, “Oh little boy, gonna drown, wearing a frown, what does that mean to me?” The song floats along with harmonic melody and various electronic harmonizers. The new song, “Waimanalo” is upbeat with a harmony of country and folk-lore style. The song offers up a joyful, spirited, upbeat gift with lyrics, “Waimanalo, sun on the waves. 1,000 mornings I’m still amazed. Waimanalo winds please behave. In between the tides a magic world resides. You can only see it with the eyes of a child.” The visual created through this harmonic song paints a lovely picture of the Hawaiian location.
Swift was a member of The Shins from 2011 to 2016, toured as a bassist with the Black Keys in 2014, and played drums for the Arcs. Although a part of three bands and behind many more collaborations, Swift released his own music as a solo artist. He was a self-taught musician and producer, playing most all of the instruments and engineering his first few records in the early 2000’s, Walking Without Effort and The Noveli.
Swift struggled with alcoholism and dealt with it in rehab multiple times over the past two years. His health took a turn for the worse after being diagnosed with hepatitis, and liver and kidney distress in June 2018. He is survived by his wife Shealynn, three children and many friends from the music community and beyond.
Photo Credit: Brett Padelford