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Music Review: Broken Bells – Meyrin Fields EP

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I love The Shins. Their releases are catchy and simply make me feel good. So when I heard that James Mercer, who is the lead vocalist and guitarist for The Shins, was in a new band called Broken Bells, I got excited. Artist-producer, Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) is Mercer’s other half. The duo makes up the Broken Bells.

I purchased the Broken Bells’ first (self-titled) album, which I love. I can play it over and over again and never get bored. So, I decided to give new EP Meyrin Fields a try.

The indie rock/folk-sounding side of Mercer, coupled with Danger Mouse’s rhythmic electric rock makes this band and this EP very special. The four songs have a spiritual feel and yet bopping beat that makes you just want to sway with the music.

Broken Bells - Meyrin Field EP (Album Cover)“Meyrin Fields,” the title track, is an eclectic mix of space age sounds coupled with Mercer’s folk voice, which is so enticing it makes you want to listen more. It was initially the b-side of “The Ghost Inside” single, taken from their first album.

At first when you listen to it, the song provokes anxiety. The beginning has a repetitive sound that lasts about 30 seconds until Mercer jumps in with his soothing voice. The rest of the song is simply enjoyable to listen to. Once you hear it more than once, you will want to listen to it again and again.

“Windows” is my favorite one on the release. It could have been the 11th track on the Broken Bells’ first album. It starts off sounding like a plane that is going to crash and then goes into a strong electric bass sound. Within seconds the lead guitar jumps in, followed by the duo’s harmonic voices. When I listen to the song, all I want to do is sway my body back and forth. It has so much interest musically. My only complaint is that it’s hard to make out the words.

The first three seconds of “An Easy Life,” starts off hard and heavy and then goes into a rhythmic indie beat. You hear the lead guitar along with some other interesting sounds of a synthesizer. Mercer’s voice is amazing in this song. He just captures his audience and you can feel his energy and his passion for the music.

“Heartless Empire” is the last song on the EP. It has heavy synthesizers along with Mercer’s voice sounding like it is in a tunnel. When you listen to it, it almost sounds dreamlike. It’s very smooth sounding and has a “hippy, dippy” element to it.

I was so curious to find out what they were saying in their songs, so I searched the Internet. All I found was the lyrics to “Meyrin Fields” but that was it. I read through it and tried to understand the symbolism of the words but I had a hard time figuring out what they meant. I almost felt as if it didn’t matter. The music was enticing and sometimes, that’s what it’s all about.

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About Hilary Topper