Words by Dennis Ruhlin

We all know what happens when the show ends. The lights come on, you finish your drink and get out of there. It’s what comes after that’s up in the air. Does the moment linger? Broken Bells sophomore album After The Disco is that next step. The party is over.

James Mercer (The Shins) and Danger Mouse (tons of incredible music) are a musical Oscar and Felix, turning something potentially odd into something incredible. The track “The Changing Lights” is super fun, with a catchy chorus you’d expect to hear on a Gnarls Barkley album, while “Lazy Wonderland” is ‘old Shins’ good. Point is, you get that indie charm and upbeat digital sound all wrapped into one, unique package.

This is no exception. Mercer and Danger Mouse join forces and absolutely nail the retro-futuristic sound they’re obviously going for. Exploring post-disco themes, the funk comes out almost immediately, in “After The Disco”, and eerily transforms into “Holding On for Life”, which suggests of late 70’s Bee Gees. Their foray into disco is well received. It’s fun!

But not to be neglected, the track “Perfect World” stands out as strong performer. It’s perfect Broken Bells. Mercer’s voice haunts over kicking drums, a plucky bass, and digital effects galore! What more could we ask for? Luckily enough, we get another taste on track “No Matter What You’re Told”, which is all those good things, with a decent dose of that special blend of Broken Bells eeriness to it.

This go around, the duo definitely chose to play it safe. They have a good recipe for making music, so they stuck to it, but unfortunately, in an almost predictable way. Make no mistake, this album won’t disappoint fans at all. It’s good. It’s just not as profound as their first album or even their EPs. After The Disco is a great follow up to their self-titled record, but it’s tame in comparison.

Broken Bells
‘After The Disco’
Columbia Records
© February 4th, 2014



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