Broken Bells - Broken Bells
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 75 Ratings

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  • Summary: This is the debut album for The Shins James Mercer and producer Brian Burton (aka as Danger Mouse).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. What makes Broken Bells such a compelling body of work is undeniably the result of the broad range of sounds that fill its palette. Although there are instances whereby each of the two conspirators come to the forefront, at no point does this sound like a Shins record with beats or a hip hop record with guitars.
  2. Mercer's knack for twisting and turning melodies is impeccably served by Burton, who tempers and fulfills those melodies with laid-back but elaborate scores of synth, piano, organ and sometimes a full string section, the only instruments not played by Burton or Mercer.
  3. Mercer's gently off-beam pop songs are lit up colourfully by the duo's choice of arrangements.
  4. The album's dominant themes spread themselves thin in places, such as the bland, punchless stretch around the record's middle mark. When Mercer and Burton are on point though, it works, and works well.
  5. Despite the scrappy rhythm guitar of album closer "The Mall & Misery," this project rarely resembles a rock band. It does, however, really feel like a group.
  6. 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]
  7. Individually, both men are astounding talents, but beyond a few solid tracks, the alchemy's just not there.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Feb 9, 2014
    Beautifully 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. Expand
  2. Michael
    Mar 9, 2010
    Absolutely brilliant! Danger Mouse and James Mercer have created something unique and fantastic. This is the year's best album so far.
  3. MDB
    Mar 11, 2010
    Best album of the year so far. Sounds like a cross between Shins & Gorillaz, if that makes any sense. Critics like experimental music over anything with melody? That is unfortunate, this is an excellent listen with a cool vibe. Expand
  4. RichardM
    Mar 17, 2010
    This album is a fantastic mix of chilled pop melodies with brilliantly addictive lyrics. The songs are simple, but it is this simplicity that gives the album such a great all round feel. Danger Mouse's genius is heard more and more every time you listen. The album barely gets boring and becomes lovingly addictive. Expand
  5. Sep 19, 2012
    Broken Bells is an album born from the collaboration of The Shins
  6. Jul 25, 2011
    From the first thirty seconds of the premier track, High Road you know that you're in for a treat. Mercer's twisted vocals against the backdrop that is Burton's excellent production, takes you by the hand and guides you on a humble journey through 21st century alternative indie. The steady rhythm mimics a racing heart that punctuates every line with a smile. Perhaps the synths are too heavy, but not enough to deter from repeat listens.
    Each track flows well into one another, maintaining Mercer and Burtonâ
  7. MattM
    Mar 9, 2010
    Move along. Nothing to see/hear. The record has good production and some nice, 60's sounds here and there, but nothing memorable or interesting. The Shins' lyrics have never been more than a vehicle for great hooks, but unfortunately the hooks are absent on this record. So, you end up with dull lyrics, dull music and a dull record. It only gets good reviews from some based upon the two members involved in this project. If the Broken Bells were actually Joe Indy and John Pop, you wouldn't be reading this. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews