An album I loved listening to while walking around Amsterdam…
James Mercer, the lead singer from Portland’s indie rock band The Shins and producer Danger Mouse a.k.a. Brian Burton (one half of Gnarls Barkley) met in 2004 at a festival and after discovering that they were both fans of the others’ music have formed Broken Bells, releasing their self-titled debut album in the March of this year. The music is much more than just a fusion of their separate styles.
The Album proves to us, again, that Mercer has a beautiful voice and that it transcends genres. ‘The High Road’ is a translation of The Shins; with true lyrics the song portrays feelings of confusion, frustration and the acceptance of everyday life. The Strong yet simple beat depicts the plodding along motion to life. “Let lust be your guide”. ‘Vaporize’ starts out like something that would be found on a Shins albums but is then transformed into a cheerful, upbeat tune, eminent with Gnarls Barkley. ‘The Ghost Inside’ plays around with Mercer’s famous voice, giving it a more electro-feel to it, and even in this way his voice is much appreciated. ‘The Mall & Misery’ is one to groove to however, each song on the album has a story to tell that has me listening intently.
Danger Mouse’s producing skills are put forward and shown to be powerful and very interesting. His grasp of the music and how to play with it make the final outcome something to press repeat to. Pairing Mercer’s chilled voice with these vibrant beats is something few would attempt, but here Broken Bells is a perfect example of teasing music genres and finding new songs to love.
Broken Bells is a soundtrack to lie in the grass and watch the clouds pass by to. A marriage made in musical heaven that gives us The Shins with a different beat.