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Broken Bells Return to ‘Orbit’ on First Single in Three Years

New album 'Into the Blue' will be out later this year
Photo: Shervin Lainez and Nikki Fenix

Broken Bells, the on-again/off-again collaboration between The Shins’ James Mercer and producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse), is back with its first new single in three years. “We’re Not in Orbit Yet…” precedes Broken Bells’ upcoming album Into the Blue, which is due from AWAL on a date to be announced.

A true hybrid of Mercer and Burton’s individual styles, “We’re Not in Orbit Yet…” is a moody, mid-tempo song with a retro feel, flecked by acoustic guitar, organ and synths. It’s Broken Bells’ first release since the 2019 one-off single “Good Luck.”

As for Into the Blue, it’s the follow-up to 2014’s After the Disco, which reached No. 5 on The Billboard 200. The group hasn’t performed live since the fall 2014 tour in support of that album.

Mercer and Burton have a number of other projects on their plate at the moment. As previously reported, The Shins are touring this summer and fall in celebration of the 21st anniversary of their Sub Pop debut, Oh, Inverted World, beginning July 12 in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Burton is finally releasing a collaborative album with The Roots’ Black Thought that has been in the works for more than a decade. Cheat Codes arrives Aug. 12 from BMG.