Is it already a supergroup if it only consist of two people? Well, surely, if one is James Mercer from the divine Shins and one Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) from Gnarls Barkley, the only mainstream RnB act (besides John Legend) that got my attention in the last couple of years.
Together, they are Broken Bells with a weird pink geometrical thingy on the cover of their self-titled debut that implies – electroliciousness ahead!
Well, Danger Mouse makes sure that there is some smooth bleep-bloop-bleep going on, I smell some radio-appeal there and James Mercer sells it with his voice again. I don’t think that I can be very objective* whenever James Mercer takes the Mic because I am deeply in love with his voice and his singing style.
The High Road
Some already compared it to Empire of the Sun, however, I have to think more of Demon Days by the Gorillaz because there is a lot of detailing going on and there is a definite difference between the electric tunes of bands like Empire of the Sun and actual Hip Hop beats (as heard from the Gorillaz). I prefer the latter and am therefore quite happy that Danger Mouse not only makes sure that you hear his Hip Hop roots but delivers them absolutely flawless.
Sometimes – but that might be just me – you can even dedect some Modest Mouse influences. James Mercer sang for the last album “We were dead even before the ship sang” and songs like “The Ghost inside” have elements of the more smooth songs of Modest Mouse.
All in all, this debut is incredibly fun, I think it’s clear who’s the creative mastermind behind Gnarls Barkley and James Mercer is just grand everytime, everywhere.
I am not discrediting this album if I say that I still long to hold the new Shins album in my hands, that’s supposed to come out this year, because I am glad I got Broken Bells to get me through the (probably) long wait.
*as much as it is humanly possible to be objective, which is not very much.