Edge

Broken Bells debut album impressive

Brian Burton and James Mercer of Broken Bells. // Flickr.com

A collaboration between Shins front man, James Mercer, and producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, the self-titled debut album from Broken Bells delivers exactly what one would expect: plenty of catchy hooks and funky synth-driven beats, characterized by Mercer’s crooning, melodic vocals.

Burton is no stranger to mixing two sounds that would not typically be meshed together, rather it be via mash-ups (“The Grey Album,” anyone?) or infusing his hip-hop, electro-beats into the production process (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, Beck). Still, this marks the first time that Burton himself contributed extensively to the instrumental side of things.

Burton and Mercer have made it clear that “Broken Bells” is not simply a one off project, or Burton merely lending a hand in the production of the album. The two wrote all of the songs together, played all of the instruments excluding strings, and are already working on new material.

One track that captures the experimentation that went into the album is “The Ghost Inside.” The beat screams “Danger Mouse” from the first second, and Mercer’s high, electro-style falsetto works surprisingly well for the song.

Single “The High Road” features Mercer and Burton at their best, with ambiguous declarations that are somewhere between drug references (‘Come on and get your overdose / Collect it at the borderline’) and trying to escape from a previous way of living (‘A detour in your new life / Tell all of your friends goodbye’).

Perhaps the most impressive feat of Broken Bells debut lies in the fact that it doesn’t sound like a Shins’ record, or like a hip-hop album with Mercer singing.

When Mercer replaced the Shins’ keyboardist and drummer last year, it was clear he was seeking something new. Thanks to Burton, Mercer seems to have satiated his need for change, and the result is rather pleasing to the ears.

“Broken Bells”

Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

Label: Sony

Produced by: Danger Mouse

Released: March 9, 2010

April 11, 2010

Reporters

Lauren Shepherd

Contributing News Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

View photos from the Syracuse at Miam ibasketball game on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, in Coral Gables. ...

University of Miami basketball coach Jim Larrañaga took the opportunity after Saturday’s 62-55 loss ...

A bunch of Miami Hurricane youngsters — and one former Gator-turned-Cane — made the University of Mi ...

Arkansas State University followed through with its threat. ASU on Friday afternoon filed a lawsuit ...

A UM appeals committee has modified the athletic department’s rules restricting departing quarterbac ...

Members of the University of Miami first response teams remind us of resources available and what to ...

Mexican activist, poet and novelist Javier Sicilia deplored the violence stemming from the “drug war ...

From the North Pole to the South Pole and everywhere in between, the art of UM alumnus Xavier Cortad ...

A panel of University of Miami faculty talked about the impacts of climate change during a meeting o ...

Miami women's basketball notched an impressive 77-62 triumph Sunday at Virginia, giving head co ...

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – No. 24 Miami raced out to an early lead but could not finish off a weekend swee ...

Freshman first baseman Alex Toral recorded his first home run as a Hurricane, and No. 24 Miami held ...

The Miami Hurricanes swimming & diving team saved its best for last, finishing off the ACC Swimm ...

The No. 25 University of Miami women's golf team heads to New Orleans this Sunday to compete in ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.