Thursday, August 13, 2009



Temporary Pleasure is the sophomore album from English Electronic duo Simian Mobile Disco. From the start this is a far more atmospheric album than their previous effort. The lyrical work is slightly more high-brow, the beats and electronic blips echo through cavernous locales established in your mind's eye, and overall it just seems like a more mature endeavour from James Ford and James Shaw.

The first thing you'll notice is the all-star cast of collaborators this time around. We've got Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals, Chris Keating from Yeasayer, Beth Ditto from Gossip, Jamie Lidell, Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip fame, Young Fathers and Telepathe. It's almost too much talent to handle, but Ford and Shaw clearly didn't just pluck these names out of thin air, they had a well planned role for each of them.

The opener, Cream Dream, gets you suitably excited for the nine tracks to follow. The slow, mechanical build-up, adding layers as it goes, really serves to lead into the track, in which Rhys' vocals slot into rather perfectly. The flow of the sung lyrics in this track is particularly compelling, and reminds me somewhat of Heads We Dance's You Are Never Alone With Model 21. Audacity of Huge follows directly afterwards, a well publicised single from the album. This track, while though initially rather grating, is very much a grower, although i still believe the pitch altered vocals featuring heavily in the chorus distract from the quality of the rest of the song's elements. Cruel Intentions is the next big track, with Ditto delivering her iconic and always compelling vocal talents, there isn't really anything left wanting in this one, one of the best tracks on the record.

Which leads me to Off The Map. I'll admit right now that I have a major soft spot for Jamie Lidell and all he does, his name on the list of contributors alone made me really give this album my attention in the first place. The track has a dark, moody beat that is quite unique within the rest of the songs on the album, and it really compliments Lidell's voice perfectly. Both he and Simian Mobile Disco did everything right here, definitely the strongest track on the album.

While I'm not normally a fan of Hot Chip, Bad Blood, featuring Alexis Taylor, is another standout song. The dark beats that seemed to be somewhat of a major feature of this album really work well with the vocal choices Shaw and Ford elected. Turn The Dial is likely the closest track spiritually to Simian Mobile Disco's debut Attack Decay Sustain Release, with strong big beat influences, especially in the use of Hip-Hop/Rap orientated vocal work. Can't say it's my favourite track but those coming in hoping to hear another A.D.S.R. may find some solace here. The album finishes with Pinball, which pulls no punches on the Telepathe-esque sound. If you're a fan of the female electronic duo you'll love this track, if like me, not so much; hell, you'll love it anyway. A great closer for a great album.

For someone who played I Believe almost as many times as they skipped every other track on the first album, I'm happy to say that Temporary Pleasure is an altogether much more enjoyable listening experience. Sure there's no glorious Simon Lord-Simian-days-of-old throwback anywhere on here, but the forward momentum shown seems to be very much in the right direction; it's clear Simian Mobile Disco will have great things in store for us in the future.



Cruel Intentions - Simian Mobile Disco

Temporary Pleasure is out August 17th. Buy it.


1 comment:

  1. Good but you should let me check over it before you post it online. There is a typo in the second line.