Preview | Simian Mobile Disco
The U.K. duo's latest is easily on par with its best.
by Joshua P. Ferguson
Upon making my committed one giant leap into doing music journalism full time, Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford was my first interview. That was three years and two albums ago now. Well, the U.K. melodic techno duo is back, having returned to the crisp and potent dance sound that's been its trademark since 2009's Temporary Pleasure shifted SMD's sound ever so slightly away from the hipster electro displayed on Ford and James Shaw's initial releases for Kitsuné.
Now a formidable dance act in its own right, Simian Mobile Disco isn't even looking to the spotlight vocalists that it has featured in so many past hits. For Unpattern, which came out earlier this month, the powerhouse production pair has instead chosen deeply soulful samples to flesh out the steely productions that have become its forte.
First there was the slo-mo acid chug of lead single "Seraphim" which features a vocal refrain of "Why can't you be what I want you to be?" fleshing out its synth stabs and 303 squelch. Now, on the upbeat tech-house of "Your Love Ain't Fair"—are we sensing an unrequited romance theme here?—an equally heartfelt snippet gives extra weight to jittery chords, bass drum stomp and taut rim shots.
The straight-ahead analog tech that these two prefer is on display as well. The flip of digi-single "Your Love Ain't Fair" goes for a sound more faithful to SMD's winding live show. "Witches of Agnesi" is more of a spellbound, hypnotic affair, with low-end bellows juxtaposing the mechanical twitter floating through its higher registers. This is pristine Simian Mobile Disco, in the groove and with nothing left to prove.
— Joshua P. Ferguson
STREAM | Simian Mobile Disco "Your Love Ain't Fair"