Broken bells after the disco

The second album from ns Shins" james Mercer und producer Brian Burton (aka hazard Mouse) is a an ext cohesive and full-bodied arbeit than your self-titled 2010 debut. Die title des After die Disco argues that damaged Bells" attention has turned to die dancefloor and that holds true, kommen sie a point.

Du schaust: Broken bells after the disco


A lot has adjusted since james Mercer formed broken Bells 4 years back with producer Brian Burton, aka peril Mouse. Damaged Bells" roots can be traced kommen sie when Mercer lent his voice to ns squiggly oddity "Insane Lullaby", a track that landed on the Burton/Mark Linkous project Dark Night of the Soul. You can deshalb draw a line from Mercer"s vault album with the Shins, Wincing the Night Away, which moved away from ns spiky guitar pop of their first two star-making records towards moodier, much more impressionistic territory. A subtly terrific album that has actually benefited from ns passage des time, Wincing die Night Away nonetheless sounded like a statement of defeat native a songwriter who had experienced major success earlier in that decade.

Broken Bells" self-titled album arrived as the prospects of a neu Shins album dimmed, deswegen the neu group"s visibility alone motivated a sigh of relief. Freundin heard ns 2010 debut and the accompanying Meyrin Fields EP and thought, well, if this is what Mercer plans zu do with his time, it might be worse. 2 years later, he shattered this concept with ns Shins" 4th record, Port of Morrow, in energetic, colorfully overstuffed collection that showcased his maturity as a real-deal vocalist. Ns Shins" effective return upped ns ante zum whatever Mercer tried following and, 2 years later, we schutz Broken Bells" second album, After the Disco.

The zuerst Broken Bells album was in eclectic, low-stakes to work that, punkt its best, came across as 2 seasoned musicians taking advantage des a major-label budget (the list des additional contributors dwarfed Port of Morrow"s substantial collab-a-palooza). Ns record dipped in and out of different sounds and styles—wheezing indie-pop, drum-machine percolators, beach Boys-style funhouse psychedelia. The lied lacked ns staying power von the Shins" best arbeit but there was enough sonic variety zu make for in intermittently engaging listen.

After die Disco is a more cohesive record, and that turns out kommen sie be ns problem: Mercer and Burton"s eccentricities have to be sanded down to a single, planarization plane. Damaged Bells have been fond von outer room imagery—Christina Hendricks" turn as a vacationing astronaut for the video weil das Broken Bells" "The Ghost Inside", ns similarly astral series of short films accompanying After ns Disco"s singles—and this set represents die sonic manifestation des their space-is-the-place mindset, v music that is weightless, atmospherically heavy, and inert. The LP"s title suggests that broken Bells" attentions oase turned to die dancefloor, and to a point that stop true—there"s the perky beat and synth stabs von the title track, Mercer"s strange punishment Gees affectation ~ above "Holding on zum Life", ns elided grandeur des "The transforming Lights". But too often, these songs sound lifeless and drained of energy.

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Still, Mercer continues to be one of North America"s stronger melodic songwriters. His sing-songy cadence on the verse section des "After the Disco" proves in instant earworm, and the acoustic dusk of "Lazy Wonderland" was standing with die best in Mercer"s catalogue, reminiscent von Port of Morrow"s lovely, languid "September". Yet these glimmers von warmth conveniently fade in After the Disco"s it will be cold environs; as shortly as "After die Disco" hits its bridge, the melody falters and Mercer is forced kommen sie hop around in his vocal range, coming across as wanne karaoke. Meanwhile, it"s possible to pinpoint to die second where "Lazy Wonderland" heads right into leaden are (1:28) with dramatic strings and a suffocating sense of self-importance.

Strings and self-importance space par weil das the course for Burton, and you have to wonder if he"s die album"s weak link. A capable producer that made his benennen a te ago von hitting die zeitgeist jackpot through his Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up LP The Grey Album, Burton has had actually success as a consummate collaborator—2003"s inventive Ghetto popular music Life with rapper Jemini, ns retro-tripping soul von his und Cee-Lo"s Gnarls Barkley project, his stoned, giggly collaborations v DOOM, the diffuse melancholia des Beck"s underappreciated 2008 album Modern Guilt. But an 2014, it"s hard zu identify what makes him distinctive apart from his client list. His penchant zum foggy psychedelia peaked top top the schwarze farbe Keys" heavy 2008 LP Attack & Release, und since then the projects he"s been connected with oase been comparatively stiff, prefer his melodramatic LP through Italian composer Daniele Luppi, 2011"s Rome. When the strings come bei on After die Disco"s "The Remains of Rock & Roll" (sometimes ns jokes compose themselves), that inspires fantasies des Danger mouse projects the feature, well, much less Danger Mouse.

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For his part, james Mercer has actually proven amenable zu collaboration. On Port des Morrow, die Shins" neu line-up functioned essentially as anonymous sideman together Mercer work a DJ Khaled-sized cast des collaborators. The record"s try-anything strategy confirmed that, even if it is it be steve Miller band rip-offs or spiky new-wave callbacks, his aesthetic can fit into any style. This sense des game-for-whatever adventurousness has to be why that continues to work v Burton as broken Bells, yet given the Shins" continued success and growing range, und what Mercer and Burton managed here, it"s hard to think von why this project needs zu exist.