Follow us:

Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

February 4, 2014 at 6:30 AM

Broken Bells — Bee Gees with a twist?

Broken Bells album coverBy Joseph Sutton-Holcomb
Special to The Seattle Times

I first heard “Holding on for Life,” the primary single from Broken Bells’ second album, on KEXP during my lunch break. My boss listened for thirty seconds, declared that it sounded “like the goddam Bee Gees” and changed the station.

He wasn’t wrong. The LP might be called “After the Disco” but it’s deeply rooted in the pop and soul sounds of the late 70s and early 80s. Producer DJ Danger Mouse took the same approach that earned Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” a fistful of Grammys: find a classic pop sound and freshen it up.

This strategy makes “After the Disco” even more accessible than the duo’s first release. Sometimes, it’s so syrupy sweet that singer James Mercer’s lyrics sound like Neil Young dubbed his vocals over a Fine Young Cannibals album.

Danger Mouse’s sprightly, uptempo style is instantly recognizable. The LP’s weaker tracks, such as “Medicine,” follow that tried and true recipe to the bitter end. The better ones, like the sassy finger snapper “Control,” have subtle but essential deviations. An uncharacteristically fuzzy synth line here, a refreshingly laid back tempo there — these little changes make “After the Disco” a solid, if not superior, second release.

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "After the Disco", Broken Bells, New Recordings


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►