Broken Bells

Wednesday

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.)

**

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters 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 almost 40 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  

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

March 20, 2015

Saturday Interview
Saturday Interview

Kevin Curtin, March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Frederico7
Exótico Americano (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, March 22, 2019

Texas Platters
Nagavalli
Immersion (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, Dec. 14, 2018

More by Melanie Haupt
South Austin Irish Pub Features Practically Perfect Fish and Chips
South Austin Irish Pub Features Practically Perfect Fish and Chips
Darcy’s Donkey is a welcoming addition to Barton Springs Road's Restaurant Row

April 5, 2019

Gluten-Free Wild Wood Bakehouse Shutters Guadalupe Location
Gluten-Free Wild Wood Bakehouse Shutters Guadalupe Location
Their second location, Wilder Wood, remains open on Seventh Street

Feb. 27, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Broken Bells

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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