As musical collaborations go, the one embarked upon by James Mercer, mercurial singer/songwriter with esteemed Portlanders The Shins, and Brian Burton, better known as producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse, has to go down as one of the most unlikely. While perhaps not in the sublime bracket of ridiculousness inhabited by Burt Bacharach's mutual love-in with Elvis Costello and Dr Dre that reared 2005's ill-advised At This Time or Bing Crosby and David Bowie uttering Christmas carols to one another, it certainly set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons late last year when Mercer announced Broken Bells was a fully projected work in progress and an album would be imminent.
Collaborations between high profile musicians seem to be happening with increasing regularity - see the recent tie-ups Them Crooked Vultures, Monsters Of Folk and The Dead Weather. In prospect they're often exciting, but in practise the results of their labours don't always live up to the stellar billing.
" What amounts to a dream anymore " Broken Bell