Original image found at Stereogum
The musical merger of James Mercer and Brian Burton [a.k.a. Danger Mouse] have released their sophomore album “After The Disco” and it’s really good. Not quite the brilliance that their debut album was almost 4 years ago, which made my Top Albums for that year. I loved that album and still play it to death. So it was expected for me to highly anticipate this new album.
- “Perfect World”
- “After the Disco”
- “Holding On for Life”
- “Leave It Alone”
- “The Changing Lights”
- “Lazy Wonderland”
- “No Matter What You’re Told”
- “The Angel and the Fool”
- “The Remains of Rock and Roll”
The eleven songs on this album have a much peppier or snappier beat to them when compared to the ten tracks from the debut album. The opening track “Perfect World” is pretty much perfect, with it’s synth opening. Then you have “Control” with it’s Joy Division-esque brooding start, increasing the tempo as the song flows. The second big hit and album titled “After The Disco” is a strong track, giving the listener lots to love. “Lazy Wonderland” slows it down some, but not too much. Probably the most similar to the songs found on the first release. Same with the next track “Medicine”, giving it that volume of 70’s sound that makes this group unique.
I am still not tired of the lead single “Holding On for Life”, always waiting for that beat change towards the end of the song. It’s vocally obvious to fans of Mercer’s main band, The Shins, but there’s enough of a change that makes Broken Bells stand on their own. Brian Burton brings his flawless production and eclectic mixing to the table with twists and turns that give it that hook. And with this new album, I think it will cement a place for fans, even if the major critics like to be, well.. critical of their new effort.
Not every new release can top a brilliant first album. But this does comes close on most of the tracks. If I had to pick my least favorite track, it would have to be the album closer “The Remains of Rock & Roll” It’s good, but kind of loses me during the chorus, which quickly loses my interest.
Let’s see what time and multiple plays will do to this new Broken Bells album to this fan. Now to hope for an expanded tour so I can see how well their infectious sounds translate from studio to stage.