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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 167 - 04/28/10

Broken Bells
Broken Bells
Columbia Records

A mouse that roared and a man that whined. The Broken Bells project came as a surprise, when The Shins' head-man James Mercer and the multi-talented, super producer Brian 'Danger Mouse' Burton launched their idea of a twosome. The pair met and befriended backstage at the Roskilde festival, Denmark, and decided to work together. For whom the bells toll.

My first listen to the Broken Bells left me somewhat disappointed and confused. This sounded quite... not what I'd expected. Not that I expected something totally raw, super-punchy and mind-blowing, but Broken Bells sounded rather... vague. Yes, "The High Road" is a fine, strolling song. "Vaporize" is even better, and not far from The Shins' alley. The twosome has written all songs together, and play all instruments (Mercer sings, plays guitar, and bass; Burton plays the drums, organs, piano, synths, and bass - as well as being the producer). I'm not sure what Broken Bells aims for, or what Broken Bells is meant to be. It feels like it's partly a eccentric pop-album for the dance-floor, resisting to be danced to. That said, "The Ghost Inside" is quite danceable in a slack, slow-mo way (maybe with some exceptions). "October" is one of the better songs, with nice key-work by Burton.

So, I don't really know about this one. There's a 1980s feel around that I really doesn't get. The 1908s stuff I didn't like then, and neither do now. Check, "Mongrel Heart", which is a rather schizoid song (with Morricone trumpets and all), or "The Mall and Misery". The latter I find simply annoying. I feel for shelving Broken Bells for some time. It might ripe, and improve. For the time being, I'm just not in the mood for this record.

Copyright © 2010 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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