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Broken Bells Debut Album

03.17.10   |   Posted in: Music   |   By: Toshi Jones
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Shin’s front man James Mercer is working on an unprecedented side project with none other than one indie music’s most coveted musicians Danger Mouse a.k.a. Brian Burton of Gnarls Barkley. The Shins transition to a new label and recent lineup adjustments afforded Mercer an opportunity to step away from his decade long commitment to the band. One might wonder when Danger Mouse would muster up the time to work on any additional projects, but he’s set aside enough to put together an inspired album, which is intended to be heard as it should be, uninterrupted from beginning to end.

The self titled debut from Broken Bells sounds exactly as you would expect it to. Mercer’s influence seems a natural progression from his best work on Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow. Some tracks are precisely what we have grown to love about the Shins, tracks peppered with antiquated piano intro’s and bluesy organ interludes. Danger Mouse has introduced almost psychedelic undertones adding a soulfulness Mercer’s work previously lacked. There are tracks that definitely belong to one or the other, but some of the best tracks seem to belong to Danger Mouse. Either way we are thrilled that these two have teamed up, despite making strange bedfellows.

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Broken Bells- The Ghost Inside

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Broken Bells- The High Road

The Broken Bells iTunes LP experience is one step short of full interactive media. It’s a novelty rather than a supplementary work. The potential for musicians and artists now exists where short films and interactive video media can accompany an album in an attempt to replace traditional album art. While this is one step in the right direction, it seems more of a marketing tool rather than interactive album art.

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