Broken Bells After the Disco
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- Released: February 4, 2014
- Originally Released: 2014
- Label: Sony
Rolling Stone"The follow-up feels more cohesive, with tighter songs and a stronger mood....The tellingly titled AFTER THE DISCO is at once sleek and world-weary..."
Entertainment Weekly"Mercer's preoccupied with shouldering through disappointment and resting ''weary bones,'' and Danger Mouse coolly obliges him, curbing the tempos and lavishing his skills on gorgeous but drowsy details..." -- Grade: B
Mojo (Publisher) - p.883 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he disillusionment makes for downbeat and decidedly adult pop."
Pitchfork (Website) - "AFTER THE DISCO still contains Mercer's engaging falsetto vocals paired with catchy tunes, funky basslines and downtempo beats..."
- 1.A Perfect World
- 2.After the Disco
- 3.Holding On for Life
- 4.Leave It Alone
- 5.The Changing Lights
- 7.Lazy Wonderland
- 9.Angel and the Fool
- 10.The Remains of Rock & Roll
Personnel: James Mercer (vocals, guitar, organ, synthesizer, percussion); Brian Burton (guitar, piano, organ, synthesizer, drums, percussion); Kennie Takahashi, Danger Mouse (programming).
Audio Mixer: Kennie Takahashi.
Recording information: Firehouse Studios, Pasadena, CA; Glenwood Place Studios, Burbank, CA; Mondo Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Sonora Recorders, Los Angeles, CA.
At times, Broken Bells' self-titled debut was so hazy that it felt like it was about to dissipate in a cloud of wry West Coast melancholy, but on After the Disco, James Mercer and Brian Burton give that atmosphere a little more form. Building on previous highlights like "The Ghost Inside" and "The High Road," the pair dive deeper into their synth pop, new wave, and disco fascinations to soundtrack songs that, as the album title suggests, are filled with comedowns and disappointments. Former single and standout track "Holding on for Life" uses its slow-motion disco beat and eerie keyboards to underscore the emptiness lurking in lyrics like "what a lovely day to be lonely," cultivating a mood that falls somewhere between desperate and glamorous. As always in Broken Bells' world, there's a fine line between bittersweet and bummed out; while these aren't the easiest moods to make appealing, Burton and Mercer succeed when they bring some energy to the proceedings. "Medicine" bolsters its contemplative sighs with spiky, percussive pop that recalls Gotye, while "No Matter What You're Told" gives some brassy bite to its blas‚ cynicism. Here and on songs like "Lazy Wonderland," which sells the merits of watching the wheels go round and round with some alluring major-minor chord changes, After the Disco is a much more organic and satisfying blend of Mercer and Burton's respective strengths than Broken Bells was. ~ Heather Phares
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