Simian Mobile Disco can pull in the crowds for their electro DJ sets and have been darlings of the scene since the release of debut Attack Sustain Decay Release in 2007. Along with Digitalism and Justice, their tracks helped the emergence of electro into popular rave culture, especially the bristling “Hustler” and tongue-in-cheek “Tits & Acid”. Taken from a first album which showed promise for their future productions, it is with much anticipation that their follow-up was awaited. Sadly a glut of guest vocalists are on board, but their talents are wasted on a serious of one dimensional tunes going nowhere.
The Gossip’s Beth Ditto has a Goldfrapp moment on “Cruel Intentions” backed by 1980s synths — without the necessary sassiness.
When you consider their first album had a raw newness about it, Temporary Pleasure is bland with few moments of genuine inspiration. Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals sings on opner “Cream Dream”, a weak start sounding more like a mid 1990s Britpop offering than a dance tune. The Gossip’s Beth Ditto has a Goldfrapp moment on “Cruel Intentions” backed by 1980s synths — without the necessary sassiness. Even the talented Jamie Lidell struggles to shine on the Kreaftwerk attempt of “Off the Map”, however Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip does come out of his collaboration well thanks to his band often composing tunes that shine despite their simplicity. But that’s where Simian Mobile Disco fail to understand Hot Chip’s talent for making minimal composition sound so inventive.
Too often this duo seem to run out of ideas before they have reached much more than two minutes into their tunes. “!0,000 Horses Can’t be Wrong” is the closest they come to a “Tits & Acid” instrumental, “Sythesise” is noisy but it goes nowhere. As a tiresome “Ambulance” zooms by, all’s that’s left to wonder is quite how Simian Mobile Disco can have such an ear for energetic DJ sets, yet can’t replicate that energy in their own music for all the want of trying. One hopes this will be an unfortunate blip for James Ford and Jas Shaw — they need to learn from it and move on. Quickly.