A premature review of Broken Bells’ forthcoming self-titled debut: it’s pretty awesome. James Mercer, who makes up 1/2 of the indie project, thinks so too, and in recent weeks, hasn’t been afraid to tell people about it. In fact, it’s gotten to a point where he appears almost disinterested in continuing his main job as frontman of The Shins. Take his recent comments to NME for example:
“As things started to wind down for me I wanted to try something totally different,” Mercer explained. “It’d had started to feel heavy [in The Shins]. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, maybe a solo thing or a new band. And Brian [Dangermouse] happened to be having the same kind of ideas.”
Some — namely those uber pessimists! — took these comments to signal the end of the Portland indie outfit as we know it. However, in another recent interview, this time with MTV, Mercer sought to clear up any confusion.
“There’s some truth [to the NME quote], but I don’t want it to be exaggerated,” Mercer said. “[I was asked about] the idea right now of going back in and starting with those blank pages and working hard on a fourth [Shins] record. [Broken Bells] was just, like, something fun. So fun to do and so different that it was just so fresh and new, and also the fact that it was going to challenge me vocally, sort of having to come up with different approaches to my singing I couldn’t resist it.”
Mercer went on to note that he plans to release a new Shins album in the not too distant future, possibly by 2011. But even then, he intends to release the followup to the still forthcoming Broken Bells first: “This is the project right now. We’re already working on another album… I’m really interested in this.”