Monday, March 22, 2010

Broken Bells - Broken Bells

Having reached public consciousness as a hip-hop producer/remixer with the seminal The Grey Album in 2004, Danger Mouse has been turning his head into more traditional musical genres as of lately, a move that had its first steps in his collaboration with Beck two years ago, for the Modern Guilt album.
Broken Bells is his latest project, in a partnership with The Shins singer/songwriter James Mercer, and it actually keeps this trend, if not taking it even further. But where Modern Guilt was a work informed by a tight sense of ceremony that took away a bit of its life and stopped the songs from going sky-high when they should, this doesn't happen with Broken Bells. The approach in here is much lighter and relaxed and you sense that these two guys were actually intending to have fun when they decided to work together.
As a consequence, the chemistry between them is fully palpable, and you get a perfect fusion of two usually separated worlds, the traditional indie-pop sensibilities of The Shins and the more forward-thinking digital approach of Danger Mouse. This creates an overwhelming world that is completely new and far from the sum of its parts, with enough place to incorporate influences from at least the last five decades in music, while carrying so many different elements as psychedelic sounds, vocal harmonies not far from the Beatles, sing-a-long chants, synthetic beats, new wave guitars, or catchy pop tunes loaded with complex arrangements and the occasional digital appointment.
Considering that they do all this while maintaining a low-profile approach and that, without screaming for it, these songs do reach the stars and far beyond, here's to hoping that we'll have much more from where this album came from. (7,5/10)

Broken Bells - The High Road (video)

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