Album Review Broken Bells - Into The Blue

Like the pair swapping mixtapes; a little ‘60s psych here, some ‘70s soul there, with a smidge of ‘80s R&B between.

Broken Bells - Into The Blue

Given that Danger Mouse has only just released another collaborative effort (‘Cheat Codes’ with rap legend Black Thought) while James Mercer is still touring with his day job, there’s zero sense that ‘Into The Blue’ is a record that was forced. Which is just as well, because often, when an album flits between styles, magpie-like as this does, taking a little from here and there, it’s as if the protagonists are chasing something out of reach. Instead ‘Into The Blue’ comes across like the pair swapping mixtapes; a little ‘60s psych here, some ‘70s soul there, with a smidge of ‘80s R&B between. Still, through the pair’s filter – lush arrangements, a voice that’s just at home in 20th Century Manchester than the same decade in New Mexico - it’s bringing more than a little late ‘90s. ‘We’re Not In Orbit Yet’ could, in different lives, have been a later Oasis release, or like ‘Invisible Exit’ that follows, an early Robbie Williams album track, while the melancholy of ‘Forgotten Boy’ might’ve been expressed almost identically by Richard Ashcroft. The psych spring of ‘Saturdays’ is at once late Beatles, but just as much Super Furry Animals or their baggy brethren across the border. ‘One Night’ makes like both Tame Impala and The Weeknd, its ‘80s synths an echo of the latter’s signature. In lesser hands, this may have presented a mish-mash of confused homage, but here, it’s just a pleasant, nostalgic listen.

 

More like this