Brian Burton is a mighty mouse. Between reinventing sampling, producing with Beck, Gorillaz, or MF Doom he has his hands full. Who am I talking about? Well, you probably know him as Danger Mouse and one half of his current project Broken Bells. The other half is James Mercer, lead of The Shins. Together they have collaborated to create an unlikely pop masterpiece.
If no one told me that Danger Mouse had done the production to this album, I would have been able to tell within two tracks. He has a trademark sound of making everything sound like Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles. I also enjoy how he never makes the samples or instruments overpower the vocals, they, in turn, help to tell the story.
I may not be the biggest fan of The Shins, I have tried very hard since Chutes Too Narrow, but I really like Mercer’s voice on this album. He always sounded muted to me before this, and now he is given a chance to soar and expand his talent. His vocals rise and fall over the 10 tracks and lull you into a wonderland. I enjoy this more than anything else he’s done, with the exception of ‘Phantom Limb’, this is a welcome change or vacation for Mercer.
I would start with ‘The High Road’, their lead single, for proof. After that ‘Vaporize’, ‘Citizen’, ‘The Mall & Misery’, ‘Mongrel Heart’ and ‘The Ghost Inside’ all prove to be excellent examples of how this duo creates wonderful pop music. It is a shame how records like this don’t sell better in larger audiences, but that would take away from the intimacy of the album. Oh well, I guess it is the loss of everyone else who has yet to discover them.