Broken Bells, Broken Bells

Kelsey Bryant

Broken Bells, Broken Bells [Columbia]

It was only a matter of time before Danger Mouse
chose his
next target for collaborative genius. Lucky for James Mercer (the man
behind
the Shins), this relationship looks like a lasting one. The new super
duo is
Broken Bells and its self-titled debut dropped March 9 on Colombia –
that
is if you hadn’t already been jamming to it for months thanks to an
über-leak
on the interwebs and some intriguing emails encrypted with the binary
code message
“The high road is hard to find.” Hmmm.

Broken Bells is a
departure for both artists. Mercer’s signature voice is stretched to the
limits
with high falsetto and some warbly FX that differ heavily from past
Shins
albums. Danger Mouse a.k.a. Brian Burton drops his mad sampling skills
in favor
of handling his instruments live in the studio. And it totally works.

The album leads with its first single, “The High
Road.”
Tripping out with jazzy space sounds, the track swoons into a mellow jam
with
Mercer’s voice smoothing things over. “Vaporize” is a lost Shins track topped with
some heavy organ chords to spice things up, while “Citizen” reps
Burton’s
affinity for electro-grit.

“The Mall and the Misery” ties the album together,
with
twanging guitar and a full string orchestra, before busting out a blend
of
Burton’s boxed beats, woozy synths and Mercer’s tastefully layered
harmonies.

Collaborate away, gentlemen. Overall, digging
this
tasty mish-mash.

 
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