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Monday, 17 March 2014 12:00

Charting the Music: Broken Bells, 'After the Disco'

Charting the Music: Broken Bells, 'After the Disco' facebook.com/brokenbellsmusic
Written by Alex Berger
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One part indie singer-songwriter, one part hip-hop producer and a dash of disco, Broken Bells impress on the new release "After the Disco."

Funky beats and the familiar voice behind the Shins combine surprisingly well for the band's second studio album.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #5 Adult Album Alternative and #8 CMJ Top 30 for March 4, 2014.

Record label, release date and producer: "After the Disco" was released by Columbia Records on January 31, 2014; it was produced by Brian Burton.

Can be heard on: Coin-Operated Radio with Ryan, Wax Lyrical with Caron, and Music at Work with Curt.

RIYL: Arcade Fire, if that band performed in space. In the '70s. While skateboarding.

Hometown: Los Angeles

About the band: According to Wikipedia, James Mercer of the Shins and Brian Burton of Danger Mouse and Gnarls Barkley decided to collaborate in 2004 after they met at a festival and discovering they liked each other's music.

Standout tracks: Chill track "Leave it Alone" is mellow, but not enough to bore, while "Medicine" demands a get-up-and-dance vibe, complete with disco point.

About the guests: The 17-piece Angel City String Orchestra provide ample strings while a four-piece choir supplements vocals, both of which add layers of complexity to the album.

Did you know? Broken Bells sold out shows on their first tour following the release of their first, eponymous album.

Notable lyrics: The harmonic imagery of water and fire -- "I'm down by the fire/At the oceanside/Just waiting for that underwater world to say goodnight" -- prompts thoughts of a utopian paradise in "Lazy Wonderland."

About the album art: The out-of-this-world-psychedelic purples, blues and pinks of the album art are a reference to 1950s science-fiction books and their conceptions of the future.

What the critics say: Clash compares Mercer's falsetto tones and "funky, mid-tempo" beats to the long-time favorite disco/pop band Bee Gees.

Discover more new music on all the 88.1 KDHX charts.

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