If collaborations arenâ€™t your bag, click the fast-forward button. But first, letâ€™s see if this is appealing: a collaboration between one of the most accomplished electronic artists and a seminal indie front man.
Insert Broken Bells, the brain child of artist/producer Brian Burton, or more commonly known as Danger Mouse, and James Mercer, lead vocalist/guitarist for indie band The Shins.
On the duoâ€™s self-titled debut album, all of the soft acoustic guitars and earnest lyrics that made The Shins appealing couple with lounge-type, Billy Martin beats that will make anyoneâ€™s head nod.
The opening track, â€œThe High Road,â€ is layered with complex choral harmonies and a spacey synthesizer walk. It is infectious right down to the very last measure.
â€œThe Ghost Insideâ€ and â€œCitizenâ€ are Gorillaz like hip-hop songs with plenty of sass and melody to make Mercerâ€™s voice sound a little bit more suave and theory-oriented than a depressed singer with a guitar.
â€œOctoberâ€ has the two slipping a little bit into the straight indie route. The song is a little bland, lacking the complex electronic elements that are present throughout the entire album.
On the whole, â€œBroken Bellsâ€ is all-around solid. The lyrics are present enough to not drown out the creative side that the electronics bring to the table. Musically the two worked well enough to allow Mercerâ€™s voice to stay in the proper keys to succeed.
In any case, there are no cracks in this bell.
Music reviewer Ian Mahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.