Broken Bells (Re-Review)
Broken Bells - COLUMBIA
FILTER Grade: 81 % / Re-Review: 84%
By Staff on July 14, 2011
We're not perfect and, let's face it, sometimes hindsight is truly 20/20. It's with that spirit that we approach the FILTER Re-Review, a second chance for us to evaluate our opiniony opinions on records from past FILTER magazines. How does the record hold up now that we've had years to contemplate and listen? What would we give the record if it was coming out in the next issue? FILTER's editorial staff sat down to scratch their heads on a few releases and present to you: The Re-Review.
What are some records you think we did wrong? Leave 'em in the comments and we might just give them a second look.
Then, We Said:
Once he started working with cats like Beck and The Rapture, the idea of working with Danger Mouse wasn’t as rare and dangerous as it had been when Damon Albarn and Cee-Lo teamed with the sampladelic producer. No worries. The Mouse is a genius who could probably future-funk-up even alterna-folkies like Shins frontman James Mercer. As Broken Bells, Mercer and Mouse appropriate a nifty slo-psychedelic swish (“The High Road”) and an electro-soul flutter (“The Ghost Inside”) as backdrops for its clarion-clear vocals and sad-eyed lyrics. In terms of sweetness, its melodies match Mercer’s voice; he’s never sounded as dear as he does throughout Broken Bells. In terms of arrangements, Danger loves the tone of big rock organ (from The Band to The Attractions) and the whoosh of strings from guitarist Mercer and epic composer Daniele Luppi. What Broken Bells lacks in risk it makes up in tenderness. Aww. A.D. AMOROSI
Now, We're Like:
Original Rating: 81%
Are We Still Listening?: Take the high road, it's hard to find.
Reputation: Yes, working with Danger Mouse is not the rare occasion it once was, and there's a few more names to add to the ones A.D. outlined above: namely, The Black Keys and this year's Daniele Luppi collab. Rome. Ahem. Notice anything with that long list? All solid records and efforts throughout. The same is here. Danger Mouse climbed the indie-pop high-dive, taking one of its darling voices, James Mercer of The Shins, and took a plunge with the singer. Risky, no it is not. But somewhere in the depths of the pool bottom, the duo took the best parts of one another to create something familiar yet new. Broken Bells is certainly not Mercer's other band, it's more electric, more melodic and a bit more fun. The Shins have their place in the stands, but it might be Broken Bells that continues swimming lengths for years to come.
Re-Review Rating: 84%