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Broken Bells EP ‘Meyrin Fields'

I don’t know why many people have to say that Danger Mouse and James Mercer form an odd pair made of two individuals not completely suited to play and compose together! Their moniker may be part of the problem, but there is nothing broken about their collaboration, and if you want another proof of this, Broken Bells has just released a new EP last March 29, consisting of four outtakes from the session which gave birth to their successful self-titled album.

Last October, I have already talked about the first track that has been available for a little while now, as the B-side of the ‘High Road’ single; and although another song of the EP ‘An Easy Life’ was a bonus track of their album, I hadn’t the chance to listen to it.
‘Meyrin Fields’ announces some of the colors of this eclectic EP with its aggressive electronic beats and pulsating wide chorus trying to catch up James Mercer’s sweet-anxious voice.

But the scary pursuit is not over with ‘Windows’, which sounds as if Danger Mouse was trying to burry Mercer’s vocals further and deeper into a fuzzy and loud instrumentation. There’s a lot going on in this cinematic track, which almost works like an action movie projected on a wide screen.

Lyrics-free ‘An Easy Life’ is lighter but starts with a grainy electronic circular sound whipped by an echoing striking beat, before ascending into sighing oo-ooa vocals. The repetitiveness of the melody coupled with the buoyancy of the atmosphere almost composes a beach-party parenthesis in the darker tone of the other tracks.

The EP closes with ‘Heartless Empire’ where fuzziness culminates to its maximum, whereas the almost indistinct voice of Mercer singing a bright melody hardly pierces through the violent and obscure fog produced by Danger Mouse’s arrangements. It’s like a fight between light and darkness with an abrupt ending and no victory for any side.

As for their previous album, many people will try to find The Shins where they have no ‘raison d’être’, except for Mercer’s really recognizable voice, very attached to his band’s sound. But it’s different for the polyvalent Danger Mouse, who may be one of the busiest musicians of the planet with his numerous collaborations and multi-productions of Gorillaz, Beck, MF Doom, and even U2. Since Cee-Lo Green seems just doing fine by himself, he may just continue this Broken Bells gig for a little while,… although there are rumors about a new Shins album for this year, so I wouldn’t mind a little break in the Broken Bells.


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