Broken Bells

Broken Bells (Sony)

SXSW Records

Broken Bells

(Sony)

Spoiler Alert: This album does not live up to its hype. It all started late last year when singer James Mercer (the Shins) and producer/mash-up wunderkind Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) announced their collaboration and released the first single, "The High Road." That song is nearly perfect: dark, gorgeously layered, swaying and sensual. Follow-up "Vaporize" could be straight out of the Shins' playbook, and "Your Head Is on Fire" is delightfully dreamy. So, what's the problem? Despite the claim that this is an "experimental" record, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking here. In fact, it's really kind of boring. Secondly, Mercer's voice, perfectly appealing to Manic Pixie Dream Girls, doesn't hold up to the juggernaut of Burton's production. Individually, both men are astounding talents, but beyond a few solid tracks, the alchemy's just not there. (Wed., 11pm, Stubb's; Fri., 11:15pm, Lustre Pearl.)

**

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