James Mercer and Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) want Broken Bells to be seen, and heard, as an honest-to-goodness band, not a side-project dalliance. It's a little tricky to do that when first listening to their self-titled debut album, since they're such distinctive talents. Mercer's vocals and melodies will almost certainly evoke the Shins to some degree or another, but he and Burton steer clear of bright pop in favor of winding melodies and mellow atmospheres. "The High Road" melds slick electronic percussion and a searching, minor-key melody that echoes the duo's previous work without rehashing it. Toward the end, Broken Bells break out of their reflective mood with "The Mall & the Misery," which closes the album with crisp chamber pop.
Performance CreditsBroken Bells Primary Artist
Ronald Clark Strings
Yvette Devereaux Strings
Kirstin Fife Strings
Stefanie Fife Strings
Peter Kent Strings
Jim McMillen Trombone
Ira Nepus Trombone
John Wittenberg Strings
Michele Nardone Strings
Carolyn Osborn Strings
Peggy Baldwin Strings
Johana Krejci Strings
Calabria McChesney Strings
Adriana Zoppo Strings
Steven Williams Trombone
Miriam Mayer Strings
Margot Aldcroft Strings
Jennifer Walton Strings
Ruth Bruegger Strings
James Mercer Bass,Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Danger Mouse Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Piano,Drums,Group Member
Philip Vaiman Strings
Neel Hammond Strings
Alwyn Wright Strings
Ilona Geller Strings
Jessica van Velzen Strings
Alisha Bauer Strings
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith Strings
Christopher J. Tedesco Strings,Trumpet
Technical CreditsJeff Antebi Artist Development
James Mercer Composer
Danger Mouse Programming,Producer,String Arrangements
Daniele Luppi String Arrangements,String Conductor
Brian Burton Composer
Todd Monfalcone Engineer
Kennie Takahashi Programming,Engineer
Jacob Escobedo Artwork,Layout
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Broken Bells based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Combine Gorillaz with Shins in your inner ear and you have a close approximation of the sound. Danger Mouse captures that downbeat trip-hop sound rife with 60's-70's fuzzy logic. You can hear a warm analog glow throughout this record that conjures a feeling of early Beatles production, particularly on the drums and bass. Across the top you have James Mercer's knack for writing clever melodies that sink under your skin and you surprise yourself when you sing along after a few listens. It's mostly downtempo so I found it to be good roadtrip music on a recent SF-to-Seattle hell drive. My nerves were frazzled but I needed some inspiration. This is a perfect fit for those moments. I have a feeling that this will be as timeless as many other classic trip-hop records from the likes of massive attack and portishead. There's just always a place for this kind of sound.
When I heard "The High Road" on the radio it was a must have. The CD wasn't even available yet. When I received the CD I was afraid it would be like so many, love one or two songs. The variety is incredible, I can listen to the entire CD all day at work, and again on my way home in the car. The "Ghost Inside" is a really fun melody, I catch myself clapping along. I'm not terribly fond of the lyrics, some are haunting but again, the melodies and voices are wonderful! Great job Broken Bells.
In clamoring for new Shins material, I came across this album/project that the lead singer James Mercer put together with Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse). I've been listening to the first availalble track "The High Road" and it is fantastic, haunting and addicting. I have trouble getting Shins songs out of my head for several months at a time, and the cool, funky vibe the Danger Mouse lays down on this makes it even more addicting. Can't wait for the full album to come out in March. I'll be all over that.
They have a similar style to Muse, which I love, but their own style also comes through. Their music is very inspiring, emotional and soulful -- I play it when I'm working on a manuscript or making jewelry (I have my own jewelry company). It stimulates my creativity. The beat just makes you want to move with the music, even if you're sitting down. There isn't any song on the CD that's a dud. I love all of them. I can't wait for Broken Bells to come out with another CD. I also saw the video clip of their concert in Austin, TX an few days ago -- fantastic! I wish they were coming to my area.