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Album Review
Meyrin Fields EP

Meyrin Fields EP
by Broken Bells

Label
Sony
Rating

Review Date
19th April 2011
Reviewed by
Ricardo Kerr

When Broken Bells’ self titled album was released last year it was a breath of fresh air from two highly respected workhorses and cult figures of the music community. On one hand you had indie rock godhead James Mercer of The Shins fame, and on the other you had restless hyper-producer Brian Burton AKA Danger Mouse. It was an unusual pairing that yielded some remarkable results in their sole album together thus far. It was a brief affair coming in at only 37 minutes, whetting our collective appetite but not leaving us completely satisfied. Perhaps it was a conscious effort in self-editing or a deliberate ploy to leave the world hanging out for more. Well, more is what we have gotten in the form of their new EP, Meyrin Fields. In general the EP is more focused on their awkward electro pop elements than the airy, cathartic ballads of the main album.

The clear highlight here is the title track. It was on the unofficial leaked version of Broken Bells but absent from the retail release. It is a dynamic, neurotic whirlwind of icy computer age funk that pushes Mercer in particular into new territory. His voice is so heavily layered and multifaceted that is crashes against Danger Mouse’s new wave beats like the tide on a beach. ‘Windows’ is amusing if unforgettable; all falsetto and twitching angular guitars that don’t feel at all like an artistic stretch. ‘An Easy Life’ is a loose, goofy instrumental number quite reminiscent of Danger Mouse’s previous triumphs (Gnarls Barkley, Demon Days by Gorillaz). Having instrumentals take up one quarter of the total product adds some nice texture to the pop focus of the band. Closing track ‘Heartless Empire’ is most reminiscent of the main album. It is an up-tempo ditty smothered in a thick layer of grinding guitar fuzz and an underlying sense of yearning.

And just like that, after not even 12 minutes, the EP is over. The brevity of it practically ensures that it will never eclipse the preceding album even if it does hint at future musical avenues for the duo. With such a small body of work behind them (albeit a very fun body of work) I can’t help but wonder if it would all work better as one whole, longer album. Meyrin Fields ends up not being essential but I can heartily recommend it to any fan of the album who wishes there was a little more to love.


Links
brokenbells.com/




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