4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Broken Bells

Certain things just don't mix: oil and water, laxatives and sleeping pills, indie rock and electronica. The latter is apparent on the debut album from Broken Bells, which features James Mercer, front man for indie heavyweights the Shins, and musician-producer Danger Mouse.

The two excel at what they do -- Mercer at blending emotive lyrics, pristine vocals, and melodious guitar riffs, while Danger Mouse is a wiz at mashing hip-hop beats and R&B. Together, however, the two have made a gutless collection in which Mercer's voice and guitar provide the only moving parts. Most of the ten songs are filled with cheap keys, electronic beats, non-existent bass, and sound effects.

"The High Road" kicks the album off. Mercer's voice and full acoustic strums are the substance here. The electronic handclap drumbeat and keyboard effects add nothing. The end result is a paper-thin, pop 40 tune.

Despite the gimmickry, Broken Bells holds a few standout tracks -- “Vaporize,” “The Ghost Inside,” “October” -- but in the end, even they lack staying power.

"Was it all for show?" Mercer wonders on "The Ghost Inside." Yes, James, that seems to be the case.

  • Album title: Broken Bells (2010)
  • Artist: Broken Bells
  • Label: Columbia Records
  • Songs: (1) The High Road (2) Vaporize (3) Your Head Is on Fire (4) The
  • Ghost Inside (5) Sailing To Nowhere (6) Trap Doors (7) Citizen (8)
  • October (9)Mongrel Heart (10)The Mail and Misery
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Paxton adobe house in Escondido threatened

Model home for Longview Acres subdivision
Next Article

Tecate mayor calls out her cops to face down the Baja state police

Olga Zulema Adams says debt paid off the day before

Certain things just don't mix: oil and water, laxatives and sleeping pills, indie rock and electronica. The latter is apparent on the debut album from Broken Bells, which features James Mercer, front man for indie heavyweights the Shins, and musician-producer Danger Mouse.

The two excel at what they do -- Mercer at blending emotive lyrics, pristine vocals, and melodious guitar riffs, while Danger Mouse is a wiz at mashing hip-hop beats and R&B. Together, however, the two have made a gutless collection in which Mercer's voice and guitar provide the only moving parts. Most of the ten songs are filled with cheap keys, electronic beats, non-existent bass, and sound effects.

"The High Road" kicks the album off. Mercer's voice and full acoustic strums are the substance here. The electronic handclap drumbeat and keyboard effects add nothing. The end result is a paper-thin, pop 40 tune.

Despite the gimmickry, Broken Bells holds a few standout tracks -- “Vaporize,” “The Ghost Inside,” “October” -- but in the end, even they lack staying power.

"Was it all for show?" Mercer wonders on "The Ghost Inside." Yes, James, that seems to be the case.

  • Album title: Broken Bells (2010)
  • Artist: Broken Bells
  • Label: Columbia Records
  • Songs: (1) The High Road (2) Vaporize (3) Your Head Is on Fire (4) The
  • Ghost Inside (5) Sailing To Nowhere (6) Trap Doors (7) Citizen (8)
  • October (9)Mongrel Heart (10)The Mail and Misery
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Internet love, the Mitchells' 30-year marriage, mom to an unusual child

Men imagine selves as women, lovers on love, teenage romance
Next Article

Jane Blanchard: in anticipation of All Saints Day

Commemorating The Stations of the Cross
Comments
4

I care to disagree! I believe rather that you may have come into the album with the wrong mindset, that the two would some how combine into similar forces, some sort of super-indie-electronica. Rather, they have created something new. October speaks out to this extraordinarily, founding itself upon Mercer's guitar and Burton's piano (that's right, Burton is credited with piano, not Mercer) while Mercer's voice speaks his lyrics softly, letting the "electronic" effects carry his words deeper. As for "The High Road", though it may have been overplayed in hype of the album, it is an example of your expectations, perhaps why they put it first in the album. "Your Head is On Fire" should have been the signal for you to see that this album is about almost gospel lyrics, singing of heartbreak and women, echoing warnings rather than praise of an Almighty. They explored, they ventured, and I believe that they succeeded. Oil and water may not combine, but ask any fan of Italian dressing and they'll tell you that both ingredients are vital.

March 20, 2010

Musicman, I didn't come into this with any mindset, nor did I have any expectations about Broken Bells. I liked the Shins years back, saw them play, but they haven't ever changed my life.

I put this album on and gave it an honest try. I even watched them play on some late night show. My opinion is that Broken Bells is watered down indie music with lame handclap snare effects and cheesy keyboard gimmickry. Sure Mercer's lyrics are strong, his voice the same, but the entire rhythm section was spineless and weak. If that is new, I don't want anything to do with it. Thanks for the comment but I agree to disagree on this one.

Rollo

March 21, 2010

Rollo, you didn't like the new spoon album, you don't like this one, do you think you might not be into this type of music? i've always been of the mindset of "If I don't like it, I won't say anything bad about it" maybe you like heavy metal or some other genre.

March 23, 2010

Actually I do like this type of music, Cesar and have since I was a teenager listening to Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and Sebadoh, among others. And as far as the Spoon record, I just don't think the album compares to the band's previous albums, namely Kill The Moonlight and Gimme Fiction. I still listen to Transference, just certain songs and not the entire album.

Now, moving on to Broken Bells, I am not against meshing two different strains of genre. It's just that this album did nothing for me. Don't mask the snare with an electronic handclap, use a snare and clap your hands. Don't try and put a quirky spin by adding lame keyboard effects, do it without restraint. Personally, I would have rather listened to Mercer by himself than be distracted by silly flourishes.

And while I respect your mindset to not say anything bad about things that you don't like or understand, unfortunately I am incapable of doing so. Thanks, Cesar.

rollo

March 23, 2010

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close