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Album Review | Pop

Broken Bells, ‘After the Disco’

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When the party’s over and you’re in that transitional space where mirth is giving way to melancholy, when the big beat is giving way to more wistful brooding, Broken Bells is there for you. The inventive twosome of Brian Burton (more commonly known as producer-songwriter-instrumentalist Danger Mouse) and James Mercer (frontman-songwriter for the Shins) follow up their well-received self-titled 2010 debut with another beguiling collection that merges New Wave and dance sensibilities with winsome pop melodies. First single “Holding on for Life” is a great ambassador for the album, with its Bee Gees-style falsetto vocals transforming Saturday night fever into Sunday morning chills. The title track lopes along as the singer’s wheels spin in a love going nowhere. Fidgety, Moroder-esque keyboard figures bustle over a big beat on “The Changing Lights” as Mercer observes “you want to win but you won’t fight.” And the angular and spacey “No Matter What You’re Told” feels like a dream mash-up of David Bowie and Joe Jackson. The pair ultimately arrive at the intersection of beauty and pain on the gorgeously sad “Leave It Alone.” (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL “Leave It Alone”

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