• Record Label: Sony
  • Release Date: Mar 9, 2010
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Broken Bells is clearly a mood record, but even with so many textures, resources and talent, it all hits one stilted note. Either this is an indicator of where the temporarily Shin-less Mercer is headed or its little more than a curious footnote on his and Burton's careers.
  2. Broken Bells is an honest-to-goodness debut album--there are as many promising flashes as frustrating moments here. Mercer and Burton have obvious chemistry, but they need to blend more for true alchemy.
  3. 60
    All three of these projects emanate a tasteful, bloodless efficiency. The songs appear to take chances--sweeping chord changes, symphonic progressions, darts into electronic sound--but there's little at stake.
  4. The High Road and Vaporize are exactly what you would expect: exquisite collisions of Murphy's masterful, slightly winsome melodies and Danger Mouse's sonic skills, as also applied to Gorillaz, Beck and Gnarls Barkley. However, elsewhere the pair – who met in 2004 and have been talking about working together ever since – form too much of a mutual appreciation society to push each other beyond their comfort zones.
  5. The pace is so chilled it would make a trip-hopper give up valium, and once past Vaporise it's hard to take much notice. You suddenly find yourself at track seven, and don't remember what's come before. Things do pick up again towards the end, although by now the debt owed to other artists is piling up.
  6. Burton deserves some of the blame for the album's shortcomings as well, even if his creative engineering is the high point. He gives us some gorgeously layered textures and swirling atmospherics, but then backs those up with tepid and forgettable beats.
  7. At its very best, when the collaboration clicks, Broken Bells boasts some truly marvelous songs, but these peaks are sandwiched between tracks that struggle to exceed colorless tedium.
  8. Individually, both men are astounding talents, but beyond a few solid tracks, the alchemy's just not there.
  9. 60
    "high Road" is melodic enough, for sure, and Mercer is a clear-voiced singer, but the album's interest palls when Mouse's answer to life, the universe and everything proves to be "pedestrian breakbeat." [Apr 2010, p.83]
  10. This instant familiarity is their strength but also the source of the mild disappointment that nags through the rest of the record, since it mostly amounts to variations on a theme, few of which scale those initial heights. [Apr 2010, p.116]
  11. The vibe on Broken Bellls is so mellow and laid-back that the album dissolves into mere ambient wallpaper. [Apr 2010, p.122]
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Sep 19, 2012
    9
    Broken Bells is an album born from the collaboration of The Shins
  2. Feb 9, 2014
    10
    Beautifully varied music. The combination of the Danger Mouse groove and Mercer's voice makes for a perfect album. Some songs are chilling andBeautifully varied music. The combination of the Danger Mouse groove and Mercer's voice makes for a perfect album. Some songs are chilling and others are amazingly catchy. It's perfect. Full Review »
  3. Dec 6, 2013
    9
    This is much better than the score suggests. Innovative, catchy, haunting. An excellent debut from Mercer and Burton. These two have anThis is much better than the score suggests. Innovative, catchy, haunting. An excellent debut from Mercer and Burton. These two have an incredible chemistry. Mercer's brilliant melodies and Burton's grooves matched together is nirvana. Full Review »