Maybe it's not quite that new Shins album that some might have been hoping for, but Broken Bells' debut doesn't disappoint. Shins' frontman James Mercer and snazzy producer/Gnarles Barkley keyboardist Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) teamed up last year to form an unusual but promising duo.
Their styles blend together well on The High Road and Trap Doors, but their differences are evident on tracks like Citizen and Mongrel Heart as the duo fails to create a really solid sound. Although all the work on songs was split 50/50 according to the duo, one could mistake Vaporize and Your Head Is On Fire as old Shins songs.
Although Broken Bells might not necessarily be considered a step forward for either Mercer or Mouse, they have seemed to find a happy medium.
However, some songs where Mercer's stamp is evident work well, while others aren't quite there, if you know what I mean. The same goes for Danger Mouse's and their "combined-sound" work as well. So Mercer and Mouse haven't quite found the winning formula just yet, but they're close.
Great tracks like The High Road, The Ghost Inside, and October earn Broken Bells' self-titled debut seven and a half stars out of ten.