Broken Bells: “After The Disco”
After The Disco
[Columbia Records, 2014]
by Jeanne Gallagher
Broken Bells’ members are no short of indie music heroes. James Mercer of The Shins and Brian Joseph Burton, better known as Danger Mouse’s unexpected collaboration had found a greatly successful medium in their experimental indie pop’s first album, The High Road. It features catchy, dreamy tracks, but the collaboration slightly struggled to flesh out their style. Broken Bells’ sophomore release, After the Disco, shifts focus to a much more melancholy mood. Even so, the somewhat despondent lyrics are paired with overall upbeat tracks, a surprising success that surpassed the expectations of any side project. The late ‘70s and early ‘80s influence is apparent from beginning to end, setting the mood of the album from the beginning with the strong opening track, “A Perfect World”. The album continues with the standout track and single, “Holding On For Life,” a psychedelic-pop track, mirroring the Bee Gees and even the later work of the Beatles. The ephemeral tracks are filled with lyrics of desperation mixed entrancing vocals, especially in the title track, “After the Disco.” It’s the kind of album you’re left yearning to listen to especially in the later hours of the night when you can reflect on the strikingly relevant matters about which Mercer serenades. If anything, give this album a download. After The Disco takes a bold step forward in the right direction, laying the foundation the continuing future of Broken Bells.