3. Broken Bells – After The Disco

It’s no surprise that producer Brian Burton, more commonly known as Danger Mouse, has dipped his hands into some of the biggest projects of 2014 after his prominence in the music world over the past decade. This year he had a part in both the Black Keys’ Turn Blue and U2’s recent controversial release Songs of Innocence. However, the album we remember most and the only album he actually performs on, is the release from Broken BellsAfter the Disco.

The duo of Burton and Shins frontman James Mercer returned for the second round of their side project that was released back in January and boy were we happy to hear it. After the gem they put out in 2010 with Broken Bells’ self-titled debut, who knew if they’d be back for more? Mercer parted ways to get back to work with the Shins and Burton went on to produce albums for the aforementioned artists, as well as the likes of Portugal. The Man, and Norah Jones, but here we are, and boy is this one a doozy!

Right from the opening moments of “A Perfect World” it feels appropriately like preparation for liftoff into whats to come, launching immediately into the title track “After the Disco” and then hit single “Holding On for Life.” After an incredible opening, the tempo slows a bit here there but continues right through with a ton of funky bass riffs from Burton and spectacular vocal work from Mercer’s but ever-flexible range. These guys are tremendously talented and Broken Bells appears to bring out the best in both artists, as After the Disco has proved again in 2014. – Koltes