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Broken Bells

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Album Review

James Mercer and Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) want Broken Bells to be seen, and heard, as an honest-to-goodness band, not a side-project dalliance. It's a little tricky to do that when first listening to their self-titled debut album, since they're such distinctive talents. Mercer's vocals and melodies will almost certainly evoke the Shins to some degree or another, but he and Burton steer clear of bright pop in favor of winding melodies and mellow atmospheres. “The High Road” melds slick electronic percussion and a searching, minor-key melody that echoes the duo’s previous work without rehashing it. Toward the end, Broken Bells break out of their reflective mood with “The Mall & the Misery,” which closes the album with crisp chamber pop.

Biography

Formed: 2008 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Though Broken Bells featured two of the bigger names in indie and alternative music — the Shins' singer/guitarist James Mercer and producer/multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse — the duo managed to keep their project secret for a relatively long time. The pair were inspired to collaborate when they met at 2004's Roskilde music festival in Denmark, where they discovered they were fans of each other's work. However, they didn't start writing and recording together as a band...
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Broken Bells, Broken Bells
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