When my homegirl Karissa S. told me to get the Broken Bells album, I tried something new… not looking up anything on the band, and just letting the music hit me. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that James Mercer (lead singer of The Shins) and kick ass beat producer Danger Mouse (of Cartoon Network and Gnarls Barkley fame) were the minds behind this amazing album.

The first thing that I noticed about the music was the telltale snares throughout it, which gave me initial hints that Danger Mouse was at it again. I had an appreciation for Mercer and his work with The Shins, but didn’t know too much about them, but now I’m the proud owner of their entire discography.

To summarize what the album feels like was a bit difficult in the first dozen times I listened to the album, but it came across to me as an electronic-funk-blues western movie soundtrack; with tales of a man and his plights throughout the lyrics. Granted not the entire album had the western feel to it, I had my favorites.

The introduction track The High Road was an instant clue to the rest of the albums. The electronics spliced with the laid back western feel makes a perfect candidate for my summer playlist. The wordplay had me hooked as well; because of course I love a good storytelling writer.

Taking a break from the western feel of the album though, the forth track, The Ghost Inside seemed a little more on the Adult Swim circuit with the beat than the rest of the album. With simple bass and electric guitar loops, coupled with the claps and snares, its catchy as hell.

Track 2, Vaporize was close to being my favorite track with the organs, guitar and bass having me at hello. The dirty drums thrown in gave it a creative edge of Danger Mouse, while still keeping the song quite organic.

Overall though, the most entertaining song to me was track 10, The Waiting Game. The imagery was subtle yet powerful, set to a sun setting slow motion horse riding environ. Being a bass guitar fiend (as you knew already); the verses had me hooked with the bass line. Also, the breakdown and buildup with the Mexican trumpets, guitar, strings, piano and static effect at 2:13 made the song that much more kick ass. The song finishes out with the previous touches, and continues echoing of voices looming in the background, set to strings.

Overall, I think this one’s already in my running for favorite albums of the year. It may be too early to tell, but once you give it a listen, you’ll see what I mean. The album is already out, so I suggest running out and getting it if you’re a fan of Danger Mouse and/or The Shins front man James Mercer.

Until next time my friends,

~Flak