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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give it a chance
Being more or less unfamiliar to the prior works of the artists, I came to this album fresh.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a gently engaging collection of melodic songs. The album is deceptively complex. At first listen, it sounds nice enough, but repeat listenings reveal subtleties in the both the music and vocals.

I might have dismissed this...
Published on 17 Jun. 2010 by B. Yeoh

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The bells...the bells!
I thought I knew that voice ? It's the lead singer of cult US Indie Band The Shins who with one half of Dangermouse make up the full compliment of Broken Bells. This week fabulous BBC 6 music have been giving the album a lot of air time and why not.
Although it doesn't go anywhere special or break new ground it is in fact not half bad. Certainly better than a lot of...
Published on 23 Feb. 2010 by Jago Wells


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give it a chance, 17 Jun. 2010
By 
B. Yeoh - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
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Being more or less unfamiliar to the prior works of the artists, I came to this album fresh.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a gently engaging collection of melodic songs. The album is deceptively complex. At first listen, it sounds nice enough, but repeat listenings reveal subtleties in the both the music and vocals.

I might have dismissed this as accessible, unchallenging indie, but there is more to this album than meets the eye (ear?).

Not one to love, but I like it plenty.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year so far!, 27 April 2010
By 
This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
Why such mixed reviews? This is a MASTERPIECE; that sounds more impressive with every listen. Love the Shins, especially Wincing The Night Away but this album goes the extra mile. Mercer's voice is subtle yet distictive,the production is superb. Santagold-esque sounds in "The Ghost inside" one of the stand out tracks for me as is "Your Head Is On Fire", "Trap Doors" and the Mall & Misery". Like the Shins, stick with this album it is pure quality with a wonderful array of sounds and styles that leave you hooked.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars £3.99 ?!, 6 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
£3.99 is a extra large hot chocolate with cream. £3.99 is a small fast food meal? or £3.99 is an album you will keep coming back to possibly like me on Sunday mornings with heaps of college work and a mug of tea.

Great Album
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps not quite reaching the heights of OMD in full flow - but a good album none-the-less, 22 Aug. 2010
By 
Charlie-CJ (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
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Broken Bells is an American rock music band based around Brian Burton and James Mercer. These two are the creative force in Broken Bells, although they are joined by a full band on tour. Following the success of this album, the good news is that Mercer and Burton have said they will record a follow-up. I'm not quite sure how to describe the band, almost a bit like a slowed down version of YES, but this time you can understand the lyrics. Can't really say whether I have a favourite 'song' on Broken Bells, as all the tracks are of similar quality really, having a similar tempo and feel, making it a very consistent and cohesive album.

The sound is very synthesiser-rock, quite gentle and almost hypnotic, with perhaps a folksie feel as well. For techno-rock one does think of British band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark [OMD], and I have to say I rate them higher than Broken Bells when at their best. So if you like this album I would check OMD's albums out as well, with probably 'Universal' and 'Architecture & Morality' being as good a starting point as any. However, if like me you already have all of OMD's CDs then why not take a punt with this band. Listen to the Broken Bells MP3 samplers first though to see if you like their overall sound. Chances are you will - and hopefully, like OMD, their music will only get better in the follow up albums. Easily 4*.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE album of 2010, 20 Dec. 2010
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G. Horn "gazwozere" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
I really don't understand the negative reviews - each to their own, and all that (as James Mercer sings on the impossibly good 'The High Road') but whatever your musical preference there's no denying that this is one of the great albums of 2010...for me, it tops the list.
Any praise of Broken Bells is bound to lead to a comparison with The National and Arcade Fire, both of whom would seem to be many people's choice for album of the year (with High Violet and The Suburbs, respectively) - and deservedly so, both these albums are indeed very, very good - but as I say, to each their own: personally, I find High Violet a little tiresome and predictable; I much prefer The Suburbs, but even then I don't find it particularly inspiring on any level.
If you're a fan of The Shins, as has already been suggested here, you'll no doubt like this album...but believe me, it's so much more than just another Shins record. It's beautifully crafted - the writing, vocals, instrumentation, and production is excellent - but more than that, it brings a smile to my face every time I press 'play' on my stereo and for that reason alone it deserves my title of album of the year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Broken Bells, 23 Feb. 2010
By 
Shaya (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
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I was pleasantly surprised by this album, I first thought it was going to be a sort of instrumental by the sound of the title (Tubular Bells kind of thing) Then on reading the description it was nothing like I expected at all, I had never heard of James Mercer or Brian Burton before.
The introduction to the first track 'The High Road' sounded like a child was playing at first, all disjointed but turned out to be rather good so I listened to the rest of it while getting on with the housework and enjoyed it thoroughly, I now listen to it most of the time. To me they sound a little like a cross between John Lennon/Beatles and 60s pop with a bit of Techno thrown in.
As usual with an album I find there are one or two tracks I don't like very much but out of the 10 tracks 7 are worth listening to in my opinion, the opening track The High Road, being one of them.
This makes me think of the summer and lazy days laying in the sun in the park.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Summery chilled indie music, 13 Mar. 2010
By 
K. Wright - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
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"Broken Bells" cleverly mixes indie guitar music with electronic sounds. It is a great, relaxing album to sit and listen to all the way through or to have on as background music. The standout tracks for me are "The High Road," "Vaporize," and "The Ghost Inside." The rest of the songs do blend together bit I don't really see that as a problem as it is a very chilled out CD.

At just under 38 minutes Broken Bells don't outstay their welcome and I have found myself pressing repeat even though I wouldn't ordinarily choose to listen to this type of music. Whilst it remains to be seen whether this duo will continue to make music together, I will be keeping an ear out if they do.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting diversion for Burton and Mercer, 5 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
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I was really looking forward to the release of the first album by Broken Bells, as I'm a huge fan of both James Mercer and Danger Mouse (Brian Burton). Mercer, as the lead singer and songwriter for the pop/rock band The Shins, has been responsible for some of the most intricate and beautifully crafted songs of the last 10 years, yet has eluded mainstream recognition and acclaim. Burton, respected producer and one half of the electrifying and eclectic Gnarls Barkley, has a unique gift for creating interesting soundscapes and mastering the strengths of whatever genre he chooses to work with, often forging brilliant work from the most disparate of musical arenas.

Broken Bells the album arrived accompanied by a huge amount of expectation. I think the album certainly lives up to the quality of both bandmember's previous works, but for the most part takes off in a completely different direction. Mercer's intimate vocals are mainly set against insistent synths, relaxed guitars and intricate percussion, Burton's excellent production work giving each song depth without overpowering Mercer's contributions.

Particular highlights include the soaring chorus of "The High Road" with warm backing vocals; the languid experimentation of "Your Head Is On Fire"; the simple beauty of "Citizen"; and "October" which evokes The Shins' best work in its easy depth of feeling summoned by effective piano and guitar instrumentation. My favourite song would have to be "The Ghost Inside". It is driven by a catchy electronic punch and handclaps, featuring dark and intriguing lyrics which really test Mercer's vocal range. It is very reminiscent of Burton's work on the second Gorillaz album Demon Days, which is high praise indeed.

If I had to make one criticism of this album, it is that at times the sound feels a little too calculated, resulting in technical perfection at the expense of emotional connection. Any one of the ten songs, taken out of context, stands well on its own but taken as a whole album, they suffer slightly from a lack of variety, the focus so tight and restrained that the album has a homogenuous sound. It's a shame given that the work is of such a high standard. At only ten songs it's also quite a short listen that could have benefitted from being beefed up with a couple of extra songs. It seems strange that strong b-sides such as "An Easy Life" couldn't have been included especially because it displays more ingenuity than some of the other songs on the album.

But on the whole this is an impressive debut, and I hope that Broken Bells second album will expand on their progress here to achieve a fuller and more varied album. Songs like "The Ghost Inside" and "The High Road" suggest great potential for a more diverse and fun album than the slightly dry, cerebal overall listen offered here. In some ways I hope Burton rediscovers what made Gnarls Barkley and Demon Days such huge successes (bold, striking melodies and sonic diversity) and combines it with the catchy pull of The Shins' music rather than trying to run too far from their previous work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The bells...the bells!, 23 Feb. 2010
By 
Jago Wells - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I thought I knew that voice ? It's the lead singer of cult US Indie Band The Shins who with one half of Dangermouse make up the full compliment of Broken Bells. This week fabulous BBC 6 music have been giving the album a lot of air time and why not.
Although it doesn't go anywhere special or break new ground it is in fact not half bad. Certainly better than a lot of rubbish clogging up the airwaves at the moment!
Mellow..easy on the ear and full of whimsical melodies and laid back vibes.
A nice piece to wind down on the Friday night drive home.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent. Sometimes over-technical production. Not very distinctive.Not all bad, though., 18 Mar. 2010
By 
Pallus (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Bells (Audio CD)
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Interesting CD this.
But overall I didn't feel that they had a very distinctive or memorable sound; instead the varied songs sounded 'a bit like..' this n that.

1) The High Road. Starts like the Beta Band. A bit over-processed for me, especially the vocals wot whiff of Vocoder. Otherwise pleasant.
2) Vaporize. Nasty Reverse-reverb and distortion spoil this track for me.
3) Your Head is On Fire. Floyd-esque airy-fairy number, all choral and orchestral. Very nice.
4) The Ghost Inside. 80's style with high-pitched singing like that bloke out of The Darkness who eats curry at The Red Rose on Holloway Road (I digress).
5) Sailing to Nowhere. What's this? A bit Bowie even, and Eels. Looong outro just sounds like BGM. Hmm.
6) Trap Doors. Boring.
7) Citizen. Very Eels-like intro. Mellow. Pleasing. with another long (90 sec) outro.
8) October. OK, album starting to feel a bit dreary once I got this far.
9) Mongrel Heart. Unpleasant modulation on BV's make them sound catty. Offputting.
10) Mall Misery. Japanesey-sounding, reminds me of Siouxie's Hong Kong Garden a bit. Nice, with a beautifully simple outro.

Overall, I think the overly-complicated production spoils a lot of these songs. The bits I liked best were the 'simpler' parts.

3 good tracks in there which I'll keep.
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Broken Bells
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