Broken Bells Play “Perfect World”

Listen to this track by post-disco inspired entity with an otherwise varied musical wardrobe, Broken Bells. It’s “Perfect World”, the opening track to this year’s After The Disco, the follow up album  to their self-titled record put out in 2010.

Broken Bells After The DiscoBroken Bells includes James Mercer, known mainly for his work as vocalist and guitarist in pop-with-shades-of-melancholy outfit The Shins. Brian Joseph Burton who is better known as producer and sought-after sonic colourist Danger Mouse is the other half of the equation.

The record itself pulls from a melange of sounds, but they weren’t kidding when they put the word “disco” in the title. This was a safe bet by 2014 maybe, what with Daft Punk proving that disco grooves are alive, well, and adaptable to all kinds of musical fusion in the 21st century. But, the “after” is important, too, what with a decidedly early ’80s post-disco synth-pop textural palette characterizing their approach.

But, that “after” is reflected thematically in the lyrics as well, which may be the more compelling element in what you’re hearing in this song.
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The Shins Play “Simple Song”

Listen to this track by New Mexico originated, now Portland OR-based indie pop stylists The Shins. It’s “Simple Song” as taken from their most recent full-length LP Port of Morrow, their fourth, and the first release from the band for five years.

The record and the single represent something of a triumphant return for James Mercer, the principal songwriting force around which the Shins as a musical unit is based. On this long-awaited return, Mercer collaborated with producer, and performer and songwriter in his own right, Greg Kurstin. He also worked with a number of new musicians to make up the ranks of the Shins, as well as a number of sessioners to aid in filling out and building upon the sound  for which the Shins is famously known.

The song itself is one that deals in transitions; a new relationship, a newborn daughter, and the evolution of a band as well, with former bandmates leaving the Shins to be replaced by new members. But, of course, there are other themes to be found here of a more universal nature.

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