Broken Bells - Holding On For Life | Track Review | By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret
Holding on For Life

Broken Bells

Holding On For Life

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Author: on November 4, 2013

Right from the offset there’s a distinctly 70s groove running deep through “Holding On For Life”; the first real taste of Broken Bell’s sophomore effort After the Disco, due for release early in 2014. The initial bassline employed by Danger Mouse is thick, almost friendly, inviting us to further explore; as “Holding On For Life” builds and its synths float to the top, Mercer takes control. The Shins’ vocalist has long been considered to possess a particularly angelic voice, but his falsetto reaches new, Gibbs-brother-like heights as he grips the tune’s skybound hook and takes his vocal pitch up along for the ride. “You’ll be holding on for life” he croons as the music behind him becomes borderline transcendent; Danger Mouse’s production allowing Mercer’s voice to flourish as the guitars fade and the keys build to a pressure-cooked overflow. As though “Holding On For Life” were always moments from implosion — check the Beatles-esque riffy-breakdown to begin the song’s final third — yet Danger Mouse and Mercer always know when to wrap the tune back around to that insatiable bassline. Their debut wasn’t as nearly Earth-shattering as it could have initially seemed on paper, but in the time since, it seems as if Broken Bells are evolving into less a side project and more a fully-formed idea. If “Holding On For Life” is an indication of anything though, it is that Broken Bells, even if they do expand their sound to cherry-pick from various groove-centric jars (disco, funk, new wave — though none of this was ever really alien to them), their bounce is something distinctly their own.

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