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Broken Bells Import

3.7 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Mar. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B0031AV72Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,220 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. High Road
  2. Vaporize
  3. Your Head Is On Fire
  4. Ghost Inside, The
  5. Sailing To Nowhere
  6. Trap Doors
  7. Citizen
  8. October
  9. Mongrel Heart
  10. The Mall And The Misery

Product Description

BBC Review

The word "psychedelic" is one of those phrases – like "genius", "edgy" and "Pete Doherty arrested" – which has become somewhat devalued by over-use. Yet it certainly suits this collaboration between The Shins frontman James Mercer and studio maverick Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton – a short (barely 37 minutes), sweet’n’sour and head-spinningly trippy affair.

Since first seizing our attention with The Grey Album in 2004 – an inspired, irreverent shotgun marriage of Jay-Z’s Black Album with The Beatles’ White Album – Danger Mouse has been the hardest working whiz kid in show business, collaborating with everyone from Gorillaz to Beck between holding down a day job as one half of Gnarls Barkley. You might imagine he was spreading himself a bit thin, but hooking up with Mercer seems to have unlocked new stores of creativity.

Ears are pricked from the first bars of opener The High Road. Toytown melodica forms some delightfully incongruous icing on a sumptuous melodic layer cake, built on a bed of lilting acoustic guitar chords and then covered in warm creamy harmonies, finished with a lullaby sing-along.

Mercer’s gently off-beam pop songs are lit up colourfully by the duo’s choice of arrangements. Vaporize lulls you into a sweet reverie with mariachi horns and hypnotic backing vocals, while the uneasy urgency of Mongrel Heart eases off into a giddy carousel of Wurlitzer-style organ. And just as you’re getting comfortable, the lyrical barbs appear: “Don’t laugh, we’ve been through this / If you want to f*** with me, you should know…”

Your Head Is on Fire sounds like it has resurrected lost snippets from The Beach Boys’ Smile sessions, before waves of wah-wah-ing keyboards and whispering mantras softly lap at your ears. It’s intoxicating stuff. And the songs also hold up in different stylistic clothing: The Ghost Inside’s falsetto vocals, simple four-chord chorus and shimmying pop groove has echoes of unlikely bedfellows such as The Dandy Warhols.

The vibe is a dreamy one throughout, but prickly undercurrents keep reappearing, as on Citizen when a disembodied voice sings: “This is a day without a trace of reason… the innocent are bound to the damned.” Rarely have such brooding sentiments sounded so alluring. In summary, then: we’ll have what they’re having. --Johnny Sharp

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This album isn't something I would have picked out just browsing around, but the description caught my eye so I decided to give it a shot. In a way I'm glad I did, and while it's still not entirely to my tastes it also made me re-think some of the preconceptions I have about indie music.

If I had to classify it I'd place it somewhere between synth-pop and what most people would consider to be 'indie'. Production values are top notch and there are certainly some catchy tracks in there, particularly track 8. Personally I don't think it's a knock-out first album but it's still worth looking into if you think you like one or more of the genres it moves between.

4 stars, because while I might not be bowled over it is very well produced and I can see how others might like it.
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Format: 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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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Broken Bells is the first album from duo comprising of Dangermouse (famous as music producer of electric and hop-hop music) and the lead singer and guitarist of The Shins.

On first listening to this album I am struck how accessible it is. They use an eclectic mix of musical influences. I can hear The Beatles (Vaporize, The High Road), Bowie (Citizen), 60's folk rock (Your Head is on Fire) and 70's rock (Sailing to Nowhere). There are little snatches of Gorillaz (The Ghost Inside) and Fleet Foxes (Vaporize) as well.
As might be expected, the album is really well-produced and I love the singer's voice which at times reminds me of the Fleet Foxes lead singer. The instrumentation is really interesting at times.

The outstanding tracks for me are: The Mall and Misery, The High Road and October.

I enjoyed this album but it didn't really grab me as I like to be grabbed by music. I think that the fact that there were so many different obvious styles (even within one song) irritated me a little. I don't want them to sound the same but I want to know where they are coming from. Maybe the next one will improve. I don't discount them yet.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
A marriage made in heaven, when Dangermouse and the front man from The Shins got together? Kind of..

If you like the work of the Shins, then this is definitely going to work for you as in truth Broken Bells are not a million miles away from the work of the Shins. There's plenty of shiny pop, well sun, brilliantly produced, but with an indie edge to keep it out of the mainstream consciousness.

I guess what it lacks is much in the way of variety and depth, but in truth what is here is well worth a spin. I'd say that perhaps, if you do want something that Dangermouse has done of late that really works and has the frailty and depth that the indie middle aged want, then check out the new Sparklehorse album, it's fantastic.

In conclusion, this album does get better with repeated plays and the fact that it's been on my ipod for months is testament to its staying power, but in truth, I've found it works better on random play when the odd track sits in amongst some other tracks of my liking.

But at £3.99, it really does mean you have to buy this record, it's way too good value not to!
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Format: 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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