Broken Bells | Self-titled LP… Very Shinny

Broken Bells has an album coming out within the next few months, but we have had the privilege of an early listening. James Mercer of The Shins leads this side project with producer Danger Mouse. Both men are wearing many hats on this project, taking on more than six instruments between them while Mercer handles the lead vocals. Its’ been a while since The Shins came out with a new album, so any offering by the bands front man is a welcomed addition to the extended catalogue of The Shins band members and their side projects. Here is a question though, what is the difference between The Shins and the newly conceived Broken Bells, other than the obvious absence of The Shins alum? When listening to this self-titled debut you instantly think of The Shins because of Mercer’s voice and singing style which any of fan his knows only after a few notes sung. There is a lot going on in this album. Touches of The Beatles mixed with more modern synth lined rhythms. The additions of organ with synth in songs like Trap Doors create a psychedelica tone which is revisited in other tracks on the album to greater or lesser effect. All and all, the self-titled LP of Broken Bells is very similar to The Shins and their albums.

If you are like many people you were introduced to The Shins via the film Garden State, in which New Slang and Caring Is Creepy are featured. So, that would raise one important question (as silly as it is) will any of the songs off of this self-titled endeavor change your life? The answer is not really, but that is a pretty high standard to live up to for any band, impossible even. For a song to change your life you have to be as ready for it as it is for you. That is, there are songs that can perfectly capture a state you are in or about to transition into being, giving that particular song or set of songs special meaning to you as an individual and in a way changes your life. Perhaps for someone out there one of the ten tracks off of Broken Bells debut album will the one that takes on special meaning, but as it stands the album is not very far from what Mercer has done in the past with The Shins. The addition of Danger Mouse to this project doesn’t propel the musical offering to any real heights of auditory nirvana nor does it break new ground in terms of style. There are however a number of memorable tracks Vaporize, The Ghost Inside and Trap Doors.

Track list for Broken Bells’ debut LP. Due out March 9th 2010
1. The High Road
2. Vaporize
3. Your Head Is On Fire
4. The Ghost Inside
5. Sailing To Nowhere
6. Trap Doors
7. Citizen
8. October
9. Mongrel Heart
10. The Mail and Misery

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On behalf of Columbia Records, Monotone and Broken Bells, many thanks for plugging "Broken Bells" / the artists’ eponymous album on your site (street date 9th March) ... thanks, also, on behalf of the label, management and artists for not posting any pirate links to unreleased (studio) material and, if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, then full length versions of "The High Road" and "Vaporize" are available for fans and bloggers to link to / post / host etc at www.brokenbells.com ... .. for further details of the new album, special pre-orders, on-line promotions, videos and 2010 shows, check-out the official site, as well as the artists’ MySpace at www.myspace.com/brokenbells and YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/brokenbells ... .. and keep an eye on these official sources for details of further news, preview material and on-line promotions.

Thanks again for your plug.

Regards & Season’s Greetings,