Broken Bells Meyrin Fields

Broken Bells Meyrin Fields
The cutting room floor is a strange place ― there's a reason songs don't end up on a record. They may just be ill suited to the task at hand, but which task: the making of a record or the making of a group? Both? This question is at the heart of Broken Bells' new EP, featuring B-sides and unreleased tracks that didn't fit on the freshman outing from Shins' James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton), released last year. These tracks are close cousins to those on the LP, but different: a little darker, more hopeless and weirder. If the songs on Broken Bells were the sunny, overachieving type these ones are the redheaded stepchildren trying drugs and skipping class. They're interesting, particularly the title track, which slinks like an alligator before stomping into a snarling chorus, and the alien reggae of "An Easy Life"; it's no surprise that these two tracks were B-sides to "The Ghost Inside" and "The High Road," respectively. Burton's production is as deft, with his electronic traces more at the forefront (versus Mercer's cadences, on the album). If you're interested in a study of Broken Bells' underbelly, Meyrin Fields is it. (Columbia)