Simian Mobile Disco Attack Decay Sustain Release Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

In-demand production team produce a genre-defying debut that captures the essence of...

Gemma Padley 2007

Simian Mobile Disco’s debut remains faithful to the album format. It is not, as you might anticipate, a recorded version of one of their expansive DJ sets. Each track on Attack Decay Sustain Release is an entity in its own right. The finished product is compelling because every flick of the dial is a different listening experience.

James Ford and Jas Shaw, sought-after remixers and producers, (James produced the Arctic Monkeys’ second album Favourite Worst Nightmare and the duo have remixed tracks including “Cherry Blossom Girl” by Air and the Klaxons’ “Magick”) broke away from psych-folk collective Simian in 2005. ADSR sees the duo cut loose in the ghettotech arena, ravaging the indie-dance mould. Genre blurring is key for SMD – once they have their hands on a melodic or rhythmic hook, the indie synth loops take hold and the tech circus begins.

Opener “Sleep Deprivation” creeps forward as crescendo-ing beats lure the listener into techno club restlessness. One to be played at maximum volume for full effect, the track sets the insomniac tone for the rest of the album. Previous single “It’s The Beat” featuring The Go! Team’s Ninja is a Run-D.M.C assault course of a track – all persistent bleeps and commanding bass.

Char Johnson’s menacing vocals on “Hustler” combine with acrobatic beats to form a jarring yet satisfying frequency-twisting whole, while the enveloping melody of “Love” remains long after the CD has stopped spinning. Stand out track in terms of pop sensibility is “I Believe” featuring ex-Simian vocalist Simon Lord; his transcendent falsetto vocals teeter above thick bass while a playful syncopated melody darts in and out to impressive effect.

SMD have seized the soaring synth urgency of bands like the Klaxons and found a way to tap into their DJ sound to produce an album where every track is a testament to their unique programming and mixing skills. Advocates of spontaneity, SMD’s reverb-fuelled techno never sounds tired or strained. The risk-taking of their live sets is captured masterfully in this edifying, indispensable album.

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