Though likely not intended, two of 2007’s biggest electronic albums felt as though they occasionally drifted too close to the sound of the ominous figures Daft Punk. As fat and groovy as French duo Justice’s songs Genesis
were; they don’t really match the freshness of one of 2007’s other offerings. So too did another European duo, a German pair called Digitalism fall short in some regards. Songs like Pogo
may have been enticing, though once again the hooks and beats didn’t really seem to be the latest model on offer. The other main course offering of note for 2007 was Simian Mobile Disco’s Attack Decay Sustain Release
. Once again while the French and Germans both put forth strong contenders, the British duo Simian Mobile Disco may stand at the top in terms of creating the freshest and most spirited release.
Though unfair to attribute an all-encompassing description, Simian Mobile Disco do largely lean towards song constructions that takes sharp and catchy hooks overlaid with thin but punchy synths and beats. It is a simple formula, but with it they create much. It’s The Beat
provides the perfect reference, a simple and intriguing hook is played repetitively throughout, with rattling and bouncing electronic sounds accompanying. Often it feels like Hot Chip, but with a punchier and more precise execution. Underneath the song there is a strong foundation of bass, perhaps owing to its club-orientated design. The bass provides a nice grounding for the song, and thanks to it the song’s attack is slick and unified.
Whilst songs like Tits & Acid
thrive on a bouncy and unrelenting rhythm, I Believe
provides the intermission from the excitement. The song sways about, and is characterized by an unwillingness to commit to action. The production once again never can be termed sloppy, a guiding hand maintaining the song precisely. But regardless the dreamy texture of the vocals and keyboards strike harmony despite never going down a set defined path.
Many elements seem to fall into each song, Love
is cloaked in 80s synth-pop makeup, but taken and molded into something modern and exact. Though these synth-pop roots have their influence, far more decisive in the direction of the song is the execution of Simian Mobile Disco. The flawless production and accuracy in bringing their designs to life makes their ideas feel fresh and the sound of the album bright. Love
’s simple hook plays over and over again, with the unique tone of the vocal sample combined with the eerie synths making the song quite intriguing.
Not all of their ideas and designs will appeal to all, Scott
seems to waffle about likely scaring away a strong contingent of listeners. But when they get it right in songs such as Hustler
, everything falls into place. Having perhaps been introduced to it along with a gluttonous and messy music video, listeners may not give Hustler
the shot it deserves. The elements of the song all fall into place, a strong and quick bass line keeps the song building towards its climax. It lacks the sweetness of other songs on the album, the precision is still there but the vocals and beat feel dirtier. The unbashful and blunt lyrics suit and the result is easy to groove to.
Not everything is done right in the album, while they may not tread in the same over-populated waters as other European electronic duos; they do hark back often to their influences. Yet while they draw from past sources, their creation is unique. When contrasted with the tide of other like-minded electronic albums released recently, Simian Mobile Disco’s effort feels fresh and vibrant and with an execution that consistently delivers on simple but fascinating ideas. Thanks to this, Attack Decay Sustain Release
stands on its own, and its unique offering has much worthy of exploring.