Broken Bells
Broken Bells


3.5
great

Review

by ShadowAmI USER (6 Reviews)
January 18th, 2010 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Broken Bells release an extremely solid first effort.

It surprises me very much that there was so little hype about the formation and first release of this band. Broken Bells was formed by the lead singer and guitarist for The Shins, James Mercer, and Danger Mouse, who is a producer of electronic/trip hop music. Before listening to this album I was skeptical as to whether or not it would be any good, because even though a combination of Indie Rock and Electronic music can succeed quite well (e.g. Vampire Weekend), the specific brand of indie/pop that The Shins pull off fairly well doesn’t seem like it could work with the introduction of synth and electronic melodies.

Being the new band’s very first release, I give Broken Bells a pass. By no means is this an amazing album, but it does set a solid foundation for them to build upon. The album is not without its excellent tracks. In fact there are a few songs off of this album which I could call favorites of 2010 thus far. For example, the album’s first single, ‘The High Road’, is an extremely addictive pop song which is full of simple and soft yet affective guitar chords and light piano in the distant background. The chorus of this song is catchy and stands out amongst the other parts of the song because of its electronic melody, since most of the song is void of electronic sounds. Another standout track would be ‘Sailing to Nowhere’. Starting off with a dreamy, albeit sad electronic melody, it truly embodies the feeling of being lost; metaphorically or physically. For some reason this song reminds me a lot of Origin of Symmetry-era Muse. Maybe it’s the piano interlude found towards the end of the song or the way you get captured by the piano/synth in a similar way found in the song ‘New Born’. Every song on the album is beautifully produced and the electronic melodies and sounds are layered perfectly with the guitar and vocals.

Even though it contains such perfect songs as the two I described in my previous paragraph, Broken Bells’ first effort is an extraordinarily top-heavy album. I mean this in the sense of it having the majority of its good songs in its first half and after that it starts to drag on tremendously. By the time I reach ‘The Waiting Game’, I find myself checking to see how much is left or I just become extremely bored. There aren’t really any great changes in the music from the first to the second half except songs seem to be less captivating and a little more boring. This is not to say that all the songs sound similar, because they don’t. In fact, every single song on this album is different and none of them run together. The electronics remain new and interesting throughout the entire album, it is more the individual songs that get a little less intense.

Overall the album is a very solid first effort. ‘Sailing to Nowhere’ is actually an incredible song, so if you aren’t really interested in the whole album, I insist that you give that song a good chance. James Mercer and Danger Mouse are in it for the long haul with this project so expect more and more from Broken Bells. Judging by the foundation they've laid on this first release I expect their second album to be even more excellent.
Final Rating: 3.5/5



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user ratings (461)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
thepaintedalice (4.5)
Beautiful, invigorating, addictive. A must have....

Violinist (3.5)
Mercer finds someone new to play with, and the result is well worth your time......

Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS (4.5)
Buy this. Buy the vinyl. Buy ten....

clavichordwolf (2.5)
Superficial art pop that fails to leave anything in the way of an impact, "Broken Bells" is forty mi...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kiran
Emeritus
January 19th 2010


6002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty sure this isn't out until march? is it streaming anywhere?

the high road is so awesome, i'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this

kingsoby1
Emeritus
January 19th 2010


4957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

record is awesome, but doesn't come out until march. please remember that you cannot post reviews before the release date unless you are a staff reviewer.

cirq
January 19th 2010


9265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gahd i love danger mouse

zoso33
February 8th 2010


237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm glad someone is giving this it's due attention. quick note: i think it's time we can stop calling Dangermouse a strictly "electronic or trip hop" producer since beck, joker's daughter, martina topley-bird, the black keys, and now this are examples of his multi-genre tastes and styles.

ShadowAmI
February 8th 2010


1542 Comments


ill keep that in mind. i guess.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 9th 2010


4957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

he's obviously not strictly an electronic producer. but, he made all of the percussion and sounds besides guitar on this record... it's hell of a lot more than your typical band producer does.

IAmInsect
March 1st 2010


3799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

digging this so far.

M4j0rTr4g3dy
March 2nd 2010


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

all but maybe 3 tracks are absolute ear candy, Aoty unless somebody else steps up

ShadowAmI
March 2nd 2010


1542 Comments


ya lol

Douglas
March 3rd 2010


9201 Comments


this is cool ey

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2010


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

listened to this in anticipation for the new gorillaz album, and also because i really do like the shins, and ehhhhhhhhhhhhh

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2010


16922 Comments


loving this so far

Digging: Low Roar - 0

kingsoby1
Emeritus
March 5th 2010


4957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The last track is completely awesome

guitarplaya3eb
March 9th 2010


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is dope. Not one bad song. I think it's gonna be one of my favorites this year.

mx
Moderator
March 9th 2010


733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Solid, solid album

crazyblinddude
July 7th 2010


3389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

only review that got this right

ShadowAmI
July 22nd 2010


1542 Comments


thanks :D



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