Review Summary: The party has arrived, and everyone's invited.
Simian Mobile Disco bring the party. Hell, Simian Mobile Disco are
the bloody party, and it’s not just in the name – just take a look at that guest list: Gossip’s Beth Ditto, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and Jamie Lidell, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, electropsych duo Telepathe, yada yada yada. This is just as about as incestuously star-studded as a dance album gets, which’ll tell you pretty much all you’ll ever need to know about SMD’s current place in the pantheon of cool; verdict: shit
hot. For Both James Ford and Jas Shaw, the personas behind the Simian’s uncompromising brand of head spinning electro, Temporary Pleasure
finds them both standing above a scene on its knees, one thirsting for a further dose of the blitzkrieg that was 2007’s Attack Sustain Decay Release
which pretty much baptized their existence alongside Justice and Digitalism. Fast forward two years, and the question is how fresh can the pioneers of fresh be when everyone else has caught up to your game? A: Vocals. And a hell of a lot of them.
If the tracklisting didn’t give it away, Rhys’ opening spot on opener “Cream Dream,” certainly does as he warps between a reverbed choral call of “Creeaaammm Dreaammmm” and half spoken, half sung verses of lyrical absurdity over a hyper realized 80s throwback beat that’s about as far removed from the traditional Simian sound as possible. It’s a statement as much as it’s a song, a “hey, look what we can do”, sliding right in between the engraving of pop culture that Temporary Pleasure
reifies, sacrificing quality for hip points, but working nonetheless. Lead single “Audacity of Huge,” follows in a similar vein, with Yeasayer’s Chris Keating lending his best electro-cum-club vocal impression to the track’s playful collection of stripped down microbeats and coming off as positively, well… competent. As an indication of Pleasure’s sound, it’s an interesting turn, if only because its one that never quite hits the musical highs that it could, while still remaining gripping thanks to the originality of it’s musical turbulence. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t occasionally strike gold, as it does with “Cruel Intentions”, a track which finds Ditto literally strutting her way down the boardwalk of what may as well be a song handcrafted just for her too-cool-to-give-damn delivery of “call me up/ we’ll hang out/ I’m down for whatever”.
After all said and done though, Temporary Pleasure
still remains decidedly a Simian Mobile Disco production, with their dark haze of techno influence meaning that when Pleasure does eventually hark by to it’s roots, tunes like “Synthesize” and “Off The Map” still hit like a thousand whirls of precision microcuts that add up to an intensity that match any dirty grind that most of the genre so easily scoffs up. There’s little left of the ‘wow’ factor that made SMD such a riot act in the first place, but as far as capturing the essence of head-down, arms-up pulse of dance, there’s little to complain about, and if anything, Temporary Pleasure
just proves why SMD are just such an intriguing act in the first place - that despite being rooted deep into the world of the mainstream, Ford and Shaw still manage to create tunes that’ll shred whatever headspace they invade, however obscure. It’s no surprise too then, that it’s a quality that extends all the way through with “Ambulance” hinting at the once complex and sprawling of works that Simian remain so good at creating, while closer “Pinball” so easily captures the indie-electro zeitgeist as personified by the Delorean/Yacht/Gang Gang Dance axis of quirky rave. Temporary Pleasure
is a glitterball of an album, shining just right when the light hits and falling where it doesn’t, but like any party, it’ll get you moving if you’re in the mood.