After the Disco

Broken Bells

James Mercer and Brian Burton’s second full-length trip as Broken Bells is a decidedly brighter listen than before, though as catchy and repeatable. Opener “Perfect World” is kinetic, closing with a guitar solo that would make Johnny Marr proud. Too much ink has spilled over the single “Holding On for Life” and its “Barry Gibb Talk Show” vocals, leaving out its infectiousness in favor of critical sneers. Bells plays as an outlet for their collective influences, from Gibb to Lennon to 007 scores and beyond. It’s simply a fun listen and makes for a great drive. Burton’s touch as producer adds to his catalog as one of the more chameleonic knob-twiddlers working today. The only regret here is that “Medicine” is a perfect single for Burton’s other partner, CeeLo, as Gnarls Barkley. Remix, anyone?