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Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton’s neat production skills are in evidence in After the Disco, his second outing as Broken Bells with James Mercer, singer with The Shins.

But for all the catchy arrangements and cute retro-pop references the album is a dull affair, stuck in a predictable mid-tempo groove and too tidy for its own good. It could do with more moments of invention such as on “Holding on for Life” when Mercer sings, “Well, you might belong to another time,” at which point the music shifts seamlessly from post-disco ballad to Beatles pastiche.

Broken Bells

After the Disco

(Columbia)

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