The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

87° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New album from the lead singer of The Shins

    Courtesy of Columbia Records
    Courtesy of Columbia Records

    James Mercer and his perfectly kept beard have been killing it in the music scene since 1996 when he became the lead singer and guitarist for The Shins. Recently, he teamed up with producer Danger Mouse (the man behind the music of Gnarls Barkley, The Black Keys and U2) and started Broken Bells in 2009. On Feb. 4, Broken Bells came out with their new album, After the Disco, which has a strangely different feel than The Shins’ music.

    When The Shins gave the world “New Slang,” a song with almost 3 million views on YouTube, critics and fans rejoiced. The lyrics flowed through stereos across the world, taking “ignorance is bliss” and turning it into something with more meaning than just an overused cliché.

    Between the rhythm guitar, the soothing voice that only Mercer has, and tambourine filling the gaps between the bass and the lead guitar, there is nothing missing from this classic tune.
    This idea is true for the entire album Oh, Inverted World. Throughout this album, the bands add more electronics and sounds, giving its lyrics a truly unique aura. To explain this perfection more simply, Oh, Inverted World is the album that makes your dad cry while he polishes his guns; it’s the album that you don’t actually hate listening to when your hipster friends put it on the radio in their Volvo 240 Wagon.

    As time went on, James Mercer began singing and playing for Broken Bells. Close your eyes, and think about Oh, Inverted World. Now take that album, throw it around the ’70s disco scene, toss it to 2014, pop in a few more minor chord melodies and you have Broken Bells’ new album, After the Disco.

    After the Disco is the perfect album to have in your car. The synths will please the pop music lovers everyone inevitably gives a ride at some point, the cohesiveness of the vocals with the rest of the instruments will please your musician friends, and the originality and correct usage of electronics are sure to delight your fedora-wearing-hipster BFF._ Oh, Inverted World_ and After the Disco both use delightfully pleasing chords with stoic lyrics describing the struggles and despair of life. These albums give an entirely new definition to “contradiction.”

    While After the Disco is a great listen, it is not the collection that Oh, Inverted World is. Mercers’ falsetto isn’t lacking on his new album, although it is occasionally overused, along with the synth. Whether you love the classic indie rock feel of The Shins give or prefer the modern-disco life of Broken Bells, James Mercers’ music career is still going strong.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search