Broken Bells – After The Disco
The first Broken Bells record should've been a breeze – the moment where Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton’s potent spark would prompt Shins frontman James Mercer’s fading fires to burst back into flame – but sadly it felt like little more than the sum of its (admittedly very pleasant) parts. Mercer’s songs would change our lives, Natalie Portman promised us in Garden State. It seems an awfully long time ago.
Sensibly, this sophomore effort refocuses the spotlight and pushes Danger Mouse’s pristine production into the foreground, as per the taut groove of The Changing Light. There’s more sass in Holding On For Life alone than the whole of that 2010 debut, somehow channelling Prince and the Bee Gees simultaneously, while the sumptuous backdrop feels like Hall & Oates given an indie makeover. Coupled with Mercer’s strongest set of tunes in years, After The Disco justifies flipping the adage: if it’s broke, fix it. [Will Fitzpatrick]