Wondertwins James Mercer (the Shins) and Danger Mouse (recent producer of every band in the universe) have once again transformed into Broken Bells to deliver full-length number two to their eager listeners. Unfortunately, this one falls on the heels of the recent Daft Punk album and often feels as if it is trying to ride on the disco-revival coattails of that disc.
On the plus side, "After the Disco" is probably the best disco song I have heard since the genre bit the dust. Driven by the bass-line equivalent of crack cocaine for a dance-floor addict, and enough James Mercer falsetto to rechristen the Shin "James Gibb," "After the Disco" is full-on Broken Bells perfection. If only every song on this disc could even glance the greatness of this track. "Holding on for Life," and "The Changing Lights" make an effort to shoot for the gold, but only manage to walk away with silver and bronze. "Perfect World" is fun new-wave fodder to start the disc, and much more enjoyable than the drab second half of the album, which kinda sounds more "straight to rehab" than “after the disco.”
Saddest is the fact that all these tracks, though expertly crafted by Danger Mouse, lack that shimmering, thick and creamy analog production that all the original ’70s disco songs were bathed in. Not only is the song content a constant reminder of a long-lost era of freewheeling fun and partying, but also of a time in which records sounded better than they ever will again.
Album: After the Disco
Artist: Broken Bells
Label: Columbia Records
Songs: (1) Perfect World (2) After the Disco (3) Holding on for Life (4) Leave It Alone (5) The Changing Lights (6) Control (7) Lazy Wonderland (8) Medicine (9) No Matter What You're Told (10) The Angel and the Fool (11) The Remains of Rock & Roll