Broken Bells, the side project from The Shins’ James Mercer and powerhouse producer Danger Mouse, have just released a second track from their upcoming album Into the Blue.
Broken Bells is what happens when you place James Mercer (The Shins) in a studio with Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and hit the collaborate button. Initially, the project appeared to be a one-off, but following the success of two albums, with a third now on the way, it’s probably time to start viewing Broken Bells as the real deal.
And judging by the strength of their latest single Saturdays, that’s something to celebrate with the same sort of enthusiasm most of us reserve for an approaching weekend.
Featuring a shuffling beat, wandering bass guitar and sun-drenched melodies, this is futuristic psych-pop with decidedly retro underpinnings. Think The Kinks or The Beatles by way of early Tame Impala; the perfect soundtrack to a forgotten space race, long before billionaires started building penis shaped rockets and blasting themselves into the great unknown.
Saturdays is being billed as the lead single from the upcoming album Into the Blue. However, somewhat confusingly, it is actually the second track to be released from Broken Bell’s new collection of songs. The first track, We’re Not in Orbit Yet…, has a slower, more melancholy energy, but is equally as impressive in terms of execution. Which, to be honest, is to be expected.
Mercer and Burton are seasoned pros at this point, possessing a wealth of talent and experience between them that they readily bring to the Broken Bells table.
Mercer is a master of earworm melodies that burrow into your subconscious, often smuggling in disarmingly dark lyrical themes that add depth and nuance to his songs. And Danger Mouse has yet to find a collection of soundwaves he can’t elevate into an interesting sonic experience.
In short they are a fantastic match, a duo that compliments each other’s strengths, while also pushing back against the other’s more frustrating impulses (Mercer can at times come across as a bit drab, while Danger Mouse’s inventive production has in the past been guilty of overstuffing songs).
Thankfully, both Saturday and We’re Not in Orbit Yet… are strong indicators that this Broken Bells album has found both artists in top form. And consequently, we can’t wait to get our hands on a copy come release day. Until then we propose you join us by floating along with these lovely tracks.
Into the Blue is out October 7, 2022 through AWAL. Click here to pre-order/pre-save the album in your preferred format.
Into the Blue tracklist
Into The Blue
We’re Not In Orbit Yet…
Love On The Run