Music: Broken Bells * * * *
Broken Bells (Columbia)
Fans of unlikely collaborations are in for a treat with this new project which sees a songwriter of the classic vein, The Shins' James Mercer, join forces with the free-spirited producer and musician Brain "Danger Mouse" Burton.
The result finds Mercer's smart pop get shaken up considerably -- not least on the Beach Boys-meets-electronica of Your Head is on Fire and the brass-inflected Mongrel Heart. Best of the lot is Vamporize, which marries Mercer's exemplary songcraft with Burton's dazzling production skills.
With Mercer on hiatus from The Shins until at least 2011, and Burton comparatively quiet on the production front of late, Broken Bells is a stop-gap of considerable potency.
Burn it: Your Head is on Fire; Mongrel Heart