It’s too early to say whether the latest from Broken Bells is a step-up or step-down from their eponymous 2010 debut. On After The Disco, Broken Bells finally feel separate from the previous work of Mercer or Burton. But, the newfound chemistry poses a problem for the duo. With it, they lose some of their more compelling quirks. Broken Bells harnessed everything from slide guitars to breakbeats. Its breadth was intriguing, it’s textures disjointed, but rich. After The Disco, plays more like concept album. It’s textures still rich, but more cohesive and subsequently less intriguing as a whole.
That all being said, Mercer’s melodies are as strong as ever on After The Disco. The hooks more compelling, infectious and frequent. Not surprisingly, the product is ultimately more accessible.
If Broken Bells release a third album another four years from now and find a balance between quirk and cohesion, they will undoubtedly have struck gold. Until then, let’s be thankful for the gifts they’ve already shared with us, because they are indeed gifts.
You can preview all of the tracks below.