Review: Broken Bells – After the Disco
Published on February 11th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Broken Bells seem to have taken the Neon Neon route by following a sparkling debut with a vaguely tossed-off-sounding second, but like their producer/songwriter counterparts they’ve enough flair in reserve to make for worthwhile moments on After the Disco.
The gloopy electronics and ornate applications of string/harpsichord/etc. that surfaced occasionally on the first album are largely absent, to the extent that you wonder just how much Danger Mouse was bringing to the table this time round.
The Shins’ James Mercer sounds like he’s on melodic autopilot for much of After the Disco, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the sharpness of his second nature – and when he does take imaginative twists and turns, like on the chorus of the title track, it’s as sparkling as we’ve come to expect from him.
It’s a number illuminated also by a weirdly buzzing backing vocal motif, while Mercer’s Bee Gees impression on “Holding on for Life” is diverting enough to just about get by.
There’s a nice rumbling rhythm and creeping melodic progression to “The Changing Lights”, while the likes of “Control” have a touch of class about them too – it’s nowt essential, though, at least not like primo Shins.
After the Disco is out now on Columbia
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!