Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Decay Sustain Release (Wichita)
18 Jun 2007
"this isn't a 'cross over album' - it's a dance album through and through..."; release - '07
With the lines between dance music and indie more blurred than anyone could of wished/hoped/ feared for all of two years ago, Simian Mobile Disco's debut album marks a pretty important turning point. Despite James Ford and James Shaw's previous affiliations with the dancier end of the indie spectrum with acts like Klaxons or the Go Team!, the fact is this isn't a 'cross over album'- it's a dance album through and through.
Right from the get go, as 'Sleep Deprivation' creeps in with its thudding, housey kick drum and filthy bass-line, you know this isn't a headphones album - it's unquestionably and without a shadow of a doubt, bound straight for the dance floor. Every break, fade in or crescendo is tailor made to make you move. Each vocal hook, I promise you, will not leave your brain without a fight. If you're not one for clubbing you will be by the time 'Scott' fades out with all its comedown synths and gurgles. Basically - this album should convert a few fence sitters and dissuade any hangers on.
While the focus may be on the body, rather than the brain, we're never simply taken through the motions though. Despite working within a fairly strict pattern of song structures and cadence of progression, there are enough snaps and cracks to keep the more avant leaning electronic head happy. Sure, this isn't coming from the darkest depths of the Warp hard-drive, but you could never accuse the duo of being complacent. The atonal snare clatters and shrapnel scraping keyboard stabs stuttering over 'Tits and Acid's' extended, awesome breakdown or the noisy mid section of 'Hotdog' really take you by surprise.
Occasionally the unwavering preoccupation with catchiness doesn't quite work of course. Where the hooks on 'I Got This Down' and 'I Believe' work well in their simplicity, the defiantly irritating repetitions on 'Love' end up coming off more than a little grating. Equally, while it's refreshing to hear such a well hyped victim of the New Rave moniker accurately fulfilling its Rave title there's the occasional feeling of pastiche, to the extent that it might inform the young NME child but frustrate the elder dance casualty. All things considered however, the bangers far outweigh the fat.
It may be the oldest thing on the album but 'Attack Decay Sustain Release's' finest moment is without a doubt a reworked version of last year's underground hit 'Hustler'. As the vocals work around the songs acidy, infectious beat "I'm a hustler baby - that's what my daddy made me", things build to a truly thrilling apex, shift into a sparse, breathless breakdown before finally kicking in with an ear pummelling finish.
From start to conclusion there's barely room for breath on the whole album though and that's ultimately its greatest strength. While the seasoned connoisseur may be more than a little well acquainted with half the tracks on this album already, there's no denying their immediate rush of excitement. Thus the sequencing may feel a little thrown together at times and things lag slightly towards the end but the focus is on the face slapping impact of each song individually and when it works; it's sensational. Your party needs this album - truly.
Stream four tracks from 'Attack Decay Sustain Release' HERE.