Broken Bells need fixing

After forming two years ago, the dynamic duo of James Mercer and Brian Burton, who is better known as Danger Mouse, brought the 70s back alive in the album “After the Disco.” 

Mercer was former lead singer and songwriter from the indie band The Shins. Danger Mouse has produced and worked with the Gorillaz, Jay-Z, The Black Keys, MF Doom and Gnarles Barkley.

When listening to this concoction of an album, they incorporate a modern disco essence with inspiration from the Bee Gees, The Shins and Depeche Mode, yet creating something all their own.

Their first and most popular single, “Holding On for Life,” is a manifestly disco song reflecting the influence of the Bee Gees. 

The rest of their album is not so subjective to the disco feel, but puts a spin to make it the recognizable Broken Bells energy.

Disco has been something people either love or hate, but Broken Bells have achieved in reviving the disco era to modernize and make it their own. 

They break away from the ordinary pop music and Top 40 that all seems to sound the same, much like Daft Punk did with their album “Random Access Memories.”

Their self-titled first album that came out in 2010 incorporates a slower, darker feel but still combining the disco theme. 

Two of the more recognizable singles from that release are “The High Road” and “The Ghost Inside.” They entwine different sounds and styles such as indie and disco-spacey.

After their 2010 album, it took them four years to release “After the Disco.” From the quality and consistency these two have shown in the past, the expectations were much higher. The songs are engaging enough to keep listening, but later on forgotten. 

They are on a major-label budget and both have expressed quality in their past collaborations. The music is not terrible, but after a break of four years in-between albums, fans are expecting more quality.

The outer space vibe mixed with the melancholy beats and lyrics could come out well if done correctly. Yet, somehow in the beginning of their songs seem to have one’s attention, but as the song goes on there is not anything else to be kept engaged. 

Mercer and Burton have flattened their music meaning that there is no range or exciting factor to stop the listener from changing the song. 

Mercer’s vocals, especially in the single “After the Disco,” show a wide range that sounds like bad karaoke. After his breakaway from The Shins, there was hope for music that is just as enjoyable and meaningful. 

Hopefully he can get back to that quality, or perhaps both of these talented artists have already reached their peak of success.

Although this reviewer was left hoping for more, this album is still worth listening to because of the duos unique merge of sounds and style. Broken Bells is definitely compellingly different in their genre bending style that is truly only their own.

They definitely have potential to become one of the well-known indie bands if they tweak details to ensure their music is memorable.

Give the album a listen because there is a guarantee that this immersion is music like none that’s ever been heard before. Songs are available to purchase on iTunes and Amazon.