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

At their best, they are UM’s most dynamic players on each side of the ball. But the Ahmmon Richards ...

A day after practicing in the Carol Soffer Football Indoor Practice Facility for the first time in s ...

It appears that at least one LSU receiver won’t be available at the University of Miami football ope ...

After the Miami Hurricanes football team spent part of its practice on Monday in a torrential downpo ...

Nothing like a comic book cover on steroids to get University of Miami and LSU football fans juiced ...

Intergroup Dialogue, soon to be offered as a course, fosters a sense of belonging, an appreciation f ...

Aretha Franklin and her music defined “what is soul” to generations of music lovers. ...

The University of Miami kicked into high gear to welcome thousands of new students and ensure move-i ...

UM President Julio Frenk welcomes first-year and transfer students to UM in signature ’Cane Kickoff ...

Miami Law conducts its inaugural Legal Impact Hack for first-year students. ...

Playing in front of a boisterous home crowd, the University of Miami soccer team picked up a victory ...

The University of Miami volleyball team won its exhibition match over FIU, 3-0, Saturday at the Knig ...

Coming off a road win in its season opener, the University of Miami soccer team will welcome crossto ...

In head coach Sarah Barnes' debut at the helm, the University of Miami soccer team won its seas ...

The Hurricanes practiced in the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility for the first time ever on Fri ...

TMH Twitter
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.