BROKEN BELLS are like THE GHOST of the band I used to listen to INSIDE at my old job

she got no future just a love to endure, this gives some matter to shaking her hide

♫ Broken Bells – The Ghost Inside

I’ve listened to the first 2 Shins albums a lot. But not because I love them. They were just 2 of the few albums that were deemed appropriate to play in the chocolate shop I used to work in near Wall Street. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the Shins, I am just t not a fan, per se (their 2007 snoozer didn’t help). Anyway, as you might know, Broken Bells is the musical project of Shins frontman James Mercer and Danger Mouse. Their first single got poo-pooed by me a few months ago but now that their album has made a few spins through the ears I have a different impression. I guess I was expecting something more Danger Mouse-y with vocals from the dude from The Shins but Broken Bells is much more a Shins-sounding group with a touch of Danger Mouse. If you know The Shins then you will be at home in tracks like “October,” “Vaporize” and “Trap Doors.” However, the real album standouts are when Mercer steps off of his own well worn path and ventures into something interesting. “Mongrel Heart” takes fantastically dark spin on Mercer’s vocals and Danger Mouse’s simple percussion. The real winner is “The Ghost Inside” which sees Mercer change up his vocals over some infectiously bouncy handclap-based production and a great bit of guitar work. So if you loved The Shins I think you’ll be down with Broken Bells. If The Shins were always a bit bland for you then there may be only a few standout tracks here. That’s my feeling. You?

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5 replies
  1. rachelfailure
    rachelfailure says:

    I'm not familiar with Danger Mouse– my first impression listening to the track is that it sounds like what would happen if Gorillaz covered Sia's “Buttons.” Which isn't a bad thing at all.

  2. kindaconfused
    kindaconfused says:

    No mention of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in the solid albums of 09… huh?

  3. Brandon @ TBE
    Brandon @ TBE says:

    haha, that's funny 'cause Danger Mouse produced the second Gorillaz album, Demon Days. Good ear :) He is also the production half of Gnarls Barkley and he did that Jay Z/Beatles mashup album from a while back, as well as a bunch of other projects. Talented dude.

  4. Brandon @ TBE
    Brandon @ TBE says:

    The album just didn't grab me. Home is great and 40 Day Dream grew on me a bit but I didn't revisit the album past it's first few listens. Sorry to confuse/disappoint :)

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