It’s been a while (again) but sometimes motivation comes from unexpected places. In this case, I’ve been kicked back into writing by the release of an album that I’ve been waiting ages for – in actual fact, since 2010.

Back then, the lead singer of The Shins, James Mercer, and Brian Burton a.k.a. Danger Mouse (the musician, singer and producer – not the cartoon mouse) released the first album from their collaboration: Broken Bells. I really liked the self-title album (reviewed here) not just because I’m a massive Shins fan but for its own merits too.

4 years on, and they are back with their new album, “After the disco”.

After the disco by Broken Bells
After the disco by Broken Bells

In a lot of ways the style of After the disco is very similar to that of Broken Bells. As the title suggests, this is the sort of album that you might want to listen to at 4am on the way home from a big night out… or with a hangover the following morning – not because you’d be too wrecked to enjoy it but because it’s fairly chilled.

It’s not all super slow stuff – the title track bundles along with a happy vibe and, similarly to their debut album, it manages a good balance between very calm but retaining enough energy for it to be a good album for whenever.

I think it would have been nice to see a little bit more experimentation, especially as both artists have their own, well established, musical outputs but I that said, this album has been worth the wait.

The complementary mix of gentle guitars (Burton), drum machines (DM), and reliable vocals make this album a pleasure to listen to.

If only I could be listening to this in California with a hearty breakfast and a see view…

4 out of 5