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TOTD – Broken Bells: Holding On For Life

Broken Bells, the duo consisting of Brian Burton (Danger Mouse, Gnarls Barkley) and James Mercer, vocalist and guitarist for The Shins have released this, the first single off their second album, After The Disco. The track offers a synth-disco sonic landscape to match the artwork imagery of mountainous sci-fi desert scenery, which at first glance seems like a look into the theme of loneliness.

It opens with a stereotypical, yet fittingly eerie sci-fi synth line accompanied by a relatively uncomplicated beat. The synth line is then replaced by Mercer’s strumming, giving it a warmer tone, followed by a simplified disco bass line and his soothing and honest vocals which take hold of your attention. This develops into the chorus which pays homage to the BeeGees with Barry-Gibb-esque repetitive chants of “Holding On For Life”.

The track in its entirety can be seen as a well-constructed and very self-aware representation of the collaborative journey of two artists already well-known for their respective sounds. The track unites them in a effortless manner, with a timeless sound that has that amazing ability of being able to be played over and over again in the background without becoming sickening, but when listened to properly can very easily transport you to the sci-fi world it depicts.

Accompanying the track release is an intriguing 7 minute short film, starring Kate Mara and Anton Yelchin, as well as cameos from Burton and Mercer. The film drives home the mountainous sci-fi desert imagery and introduces an exciting element for further releases leading up to the After The Disco release set for January 2014.

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