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Monday, August 11, 2014

Tonight in Music: Broken Bells, Portugal. The Man

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM


BROKEN BELLS, CAYUCAS
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) I wouldn't have guessed the world needed a second album from Broken Bells, the collaboration between the Shins' James Mercer and producer Danger Mouse, AKA Brian Burton. But instead of Broken Bells being just a one-off blip in both of their discographies, the pair came together again for this year's After the Disco, which is not just a better album than its predecessor, but an album that, more often than not, realizes its rather lofty ambitions. The sci-fi disco-soul concept album contains strings and a choir, a contrivance that could have spelled disaster if songs like "Perfect World" and "Holding on for Life" weren't as solidly hooky and bubbly as they are. Not since Air's Moon Safari has this type of musical retro-futurism sounded so appealing and natural, and while After the Disco's lowest moments are when it devolves into pop wallpaper that was probably devised for lucrative licensing to TV commercials, at its best, it's the liveliest Mercer has sounded since the Shins' Chutes Too Narrow. NED LANNAMANN


GROUPLOVE, PORTUGAL. THE MAN, TOKYO POLICE CLUB
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) Your summer loses a couple of points if you don't take in at least one show on the lawn at Edgefield, and Portugal. The Man's gently psychedelic pop neo-classics are a fine complement to the gently psychedelic aesthetics of all finer McMenamins establishments. MARJORIE SKINNER

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