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'After the Disco' will disappoint fans

By Kathleen McWilliams
On February 5, 2014

After my glowing review of Broken Bells' new single two weeks ago, it's hard to believe I'm giving the Feb. 4 album, "After the Disco," a five out of 10.
Broken Bells was the answer to James Mercer, formally lead singer of The Shins, and his decaying band. It was project that allowed him to be creative in the way he couldn't be with The Shins and collaborate with hip new producer, DangerMouse. But maybe Mercer's time has come and he should retire from the music business. As much as it pains me to say this, Mercer needs to leave his legacy at five albums with The Shins and one fantastic piece of experimentation with Broken Bells.
"After the Disco" has an interesting and unique sound that differs from the group's first album "Broken Bells." Unfortunately, what ruins the album is the fact that the sound is so polished and so refined that every song sounds the same. Now, I don't know about you, but that bores me. As an avid music listener I know that an album should be different. An album is like a book, if every chapter was the same in "Harry Potter" no one would be interested. The sound on the album is not amazing that you want to hear it on 11 tracks.
Speaking of the sound, if you choose to listen to it, expect '70s disco themes and a groovy undertone to the melancholy lyrics. The aesthetic is impressive, but again, I'd like to have seen some diversity in the songs. The group's first album was stellar in this category and featured everything from acoustic solos on "Vaporize" to subtle synthetic harmonies on "Sailing to Nowhere." The lack of experimentation and cross genre tracks makes this album a major disappointment.
The most shocking thing about this album, however, is the fact that I expected so much more from two of the most talented 21st century musicians. Their discographies are amazing, but lend nothing to the current album. Where did the talent go?
On the whole, I can't even comment on individual tracks because they were that unremarkable. "Back to the Disco" sounds like "Holding On" which sounds like "Leave It Alone."

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