Broken Bells

Broken Bells

Columbia, 2010

REVIEW BY: Peter Vissers


In 2004 Shins frontman James Mercer met Brian Burton, who produced the second Gorillaz album and Beck’s Modern Guilt. They decided to collaborate on a project they called Broken Bells. Brian Burton, better known by his stage name Danger Mouse, is responsible for the trip-hop influences and electronics on their recently released self-titled debut album. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Although its lyrics are a bit meaningless (let’s call it poetic), “The High Road” is an awesome album opener. The slow, dragging hip-hop beat mixes perfectly with the dreamy vocals. A simple but effective synthesizer guides the track into four minutes of beauty. The second track, “Vaporize,” is great too. The first 30 seconds are guitar and vocals but when the hip-hop drums kick in you start to understand what Burton’s intentions are. I’ve never heard indie and hip-hop merge so well.

Another interesting song is “Sailing To Nowhere,” which sounds like a combination of Muse and Shins with a hint of Radiohead. One of the album's best songs is “Mongrel Heart,” a catchy song that instantly reminded me of The Whitest Boy Alive.

It’s the space fillers that almost spoiled my enthusiasm. “Your Head Is On Fire” is dull and meaningless; it’s one of those tracks you’ll never notice. “October” is equally boring and “Trap Doors,” which sounds like an Air or Zero 7 song, isn’t worth mentioning either except from the excellent chorus.

Broken Bells is jammed with infectious songs. The only problem is it lacks the diversity that is required to really impress. After a while it all becomes repetitive and dull. Altogether Broken Bells is an awesome album with a lot of great songs and just a few minor imperfections which we just have to take for granted!

Rating: B-

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