In the past decade, Danger Mouse’s (that’s Burton) ‘The Grey Album’ and his CeeLo Green collaboration, Gnarls Barkley, helped anticipate the increasing receptiveness of R&B and hip-hop crossovers.
Mercer’s band The Shins meanwhile, featured prominently in the 2004 film Garden State, breaking ground for future indie triumphs in the mainstream.
So perhaps it was fate that the pair would come together, that their paths would cross. Each has exhibited a clear talent for taking the new into the norm, and so it goes with Broken Bells: a project that combines elements of each artist’s past endeavours with tested commercial savvy.
The sound of Broken Bells, here collected on the duo’s second studio album (an eponymous set was released in 2010), is neither explicitly that of Mercer or Burton. Yet fans of either can expect to be instantly comforted. ‘After The Disco’ rarely sounds like an indie rock record, but you can still hear elements of The Shins here, Mercer’s croon instantly recognisable. Danger Mouse’s atmospheric digital soundscapes and resonant bass lines are equally distinct.