Danger Mouse is a serial collaborator, but Broken Bells might make the most sense. Mercer has always had pop awareness and faith in his own voice, pliable traits in the custody of a producer always looking to bring music back to its fundamentals. While the group's debut worked, as the Billboard charts testify, this record is much more thoughtful and engaging.
The attention to depth and detail is especially evident in tracks like "Control" and "Medicine," each offering Cure-like guitar effects and a richness of sound. Sure, some songs seem phoned-in ("The Angel and the Fool"), while others, like the title track, are overcooked. Danger Mouse, of course, is most at home in the studio, and this is very much a studio album. And while that doesn't work with all artists—see the last Portugal the Man record—it does here. After The Disco is savvy, nostalgic and agreeable.
HEAR IT: After the Disco is out Tuesday, Feb. 4.