The phenomenon of an artist’s side-project being more impressive, engaging and altogether more fun than their main work is as tragic as it is intruiging.
It’s certainly what happened with James Mercer. The plodding mediocrity of the Shins over the last few years was, in 2010, eclipsed entirely by his team up with Danger Mouse to produce Broken Bells, the first and, to date, only LP from the band of the same name.
Until now, that is. With Broken Bells‘ second album, After the Disco, scheduled for released in January, the band have released their first single from it – ‘Holding on for Life’ is a piece of Bee Gees-esque brilliance – as weird as it is outright fun – and one that clearly allows Mercer to actually have fun with his vocals and songwriting for once. It’s a good start for what could be one of 2014’s first brilliant albums.