Broken Bells


SXSW Records

Broken Bells


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.)


Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Saturday Interview
Saturday Interview

Kevin Curtin, March 20, 2015

Friday Showcases
Friday Showcases
Korea, Japan, Spain, Africa – see the world from single showcases

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Lou Rebecca
Lou Rebecca (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Jan. 26, 2018

Free Week Live Shots
Mélat, 5D, Applied Pressure Orchestra
Empire Control Room & Garage, Jan. 6

Kahron Spearman, Jan. 12, 2018

More by Melanie Haupt
Review: Yuyo
Review: Yuyo
Manor Road is now home to upscale Peruvian fare

Feb. 23, 2018

It Takes a Village to Eat Safely With Food Allergies
It Takes a Village to Eat Safely With Food Allergies
Local restaurants adapt to the growing number of Americans with food allergies

Feb. 2, 2018


Broken Bells

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle