Broken Bells' second record, After The Disco isn't as entertaining as their debut. You can be amazed about the rich textures of the music and the diversity of the duo, but after a couple of songs, the album loses some of it's entertainment factor and becomes a little monotonous to listen through.
Broken Bells does a really good job of mixing organic sounds with synth work. When the synths are turned low, the acoustic guitar and James Mercer's wispy vocal play more like 60's folk music than anything modern. But when the synths are turned up, it immediately changes the dynamic of Broken Bells. When they start out a song with traditional instrumentation and then shift into using the synths, that's when Broken Bells are at their best. When they immediately drown out the power of the song with synth work instead of accenting it, that's when Broken Bells gets to be tiresome. They're a great group who makes incredible sounding new music, but After The Disco isn't entertaining because the songs just don't have hooks that can keep up with the sonics. It's not an all-encompassing listen, it's at best really good background music.
After The Disco is worth a listen, but don't expect it to be worth frequent listens. It sounds great, it's just ultimately not entertaining and that's a problem. There are some moments at the front of the record where it will reel you in but after a half hour and a few songs you'll want to move on to something else.