Broken Bells: After The Disco
After The Disco is Broken Bells’ second album, a follow-up to the duo’s 2010 self-titled debut, which revealed the intriguing power of a collaboration between The Shins’ frontman James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse. The new album, meant to be listened to in sequence, expands the pair’s initial
sound, bringing in psych-tinged funk elements. The title track is a shimmering number that combines dance floor rhythms with a chirping indie-rock chorus that sets the tone for the rest of the songs, which veer from the falsetto anthem “Holding on for Life” to the soaring ambient song “The Changing Lights” to the funk-laden rocker “Control.” A hint of throwback disco infiltrates all of the tracks no matter what their individual tone is, lending a crisp, sometimes controlled groove to the entire album. The latter part of the disc shifts into more pensive, lushly drawn ballads, wrapping with the orchestral “The Remains of Rock & Roll”—a triumphant conclusion to the strangely compelling narrative arc that Mercer and Danger Mouse have created.