Monday, 2 May 2011

My latest obsession

Ok, I know this album came out almost a year ago and so I am waaaaay behind, but I can't stop listening to it lately.  I love The Shins but when James Mercer teamed up with Dangermouse to release Broken Bells' eponymous album, my reaction was 'meh'.  This was in part due to the fact that the first track from the album, The High Road, was a free iTunes download and after repeated listens I didn't think too much of it so never bothered to buy the album.

Fast forward to a month ago and I found it in Powerplay's closing down sale for something like £3, which seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.  And after a couple of listens it dawned on me what I had been missing.

When I say it sounds like The Shins, I mean that in the best possible way.  Vaporize particularly is remincisent of much from Wincing The Night Away.  But it also has many touches and moments that are utterly un-Shins like.  The Ghost Inside, with handclaps and falsetto, has crisp production and beats you would be unlikely to hear on a Shins album.  I have become a bit obsessed with the mournful Citizen, especially when Mercer cracks out the falsetto once more to sing "From the moment that we're born/Till we're old and tired out/Do we ever know?" 

What is so great about this album is that it seems to fit every mood well.  I noticed the uplifting refrain from The Mall & Misery one sunny day wandering cheerfully around Norwich, and the aforementioned Citizen is just the ticket when you're feeling a little moody and sorry for yourself.

Reading recently that James Mercer has disbanded The Shins for now (and is certainly unlikely to ever work with the three previous members of the band even if he records as The Shins again) felt less wrenching now that I have a new Mercer project to listen to on repeat.

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