Review of Unpatterns Album by Simian Mobile Disco

Dateline 2002: Jas Shaw is still a part of Simian, a four piece from Manchester whose debut album Chemistry Is What We Are contained some pristine, if largely ignored, dream pop moments in a vaguely Beta Band mould, especially the crystalline One Direction.

Dateline 2007: Shaw is now working with couture producer James Ford and the pair have added the Mobile Disco strap line. They release Attack Decay Sustain Release, which, along with Justice's The Cross, is the sinequanone of the year's bass snapping, top lip sweaty dirdy diva sound which combined Euro beat minimalism with huge Daft Punk shaped nu party funk.

Dateline 2012: The duo release their third album, Unpatterns.

Much has happened in the gaps of course - most notably to Ford, a man whose CV boasts many noughties A List collaborators - but possibly the most impressive facet of their latest outing together is the tangent they've pursued since first coming to prominence. Far from living on past glories, Unpatterns feels like a very streetwise journey with its ear to the underground, much more in fact of a club orientated record than the huge dropping frenzy of, for instance, Hustler or I Got This Down.

If the word underground tends to have elitist connotations in some circles, SMD are clearly up for spreading their gospel to anyone who'll listen. It would be easy, for instance, to peg the acid pops of Interference as more for the purist, whilst Put Your Hands Together's pulsing hi-hat is a classic Detroit techno motif/reference likely to be name dropped by your average booth-stalking spotter, but both are as effective at bringing out the dance floor dead as the other.

It's fitting, perhaps, in this time of austerity that even when the pair are carving out new anthems Du jour, they're content to flow overtones at you and let your imagination do the rest. Dorks can rejoice at playing spot the influence, but Unpatterns finest moments are great for what they lack, rather than kitchen sinking the rush. Examples? Your Love Ain't Fair revolves around a pared down, distorted sample that feels like it's from the floppy disk era, wrapped around some luxuriously warm synth bass and The Dream Of The Fisherman's Wife spills more Rustie-esque bent out of shape glitch and Deutsch beat programming that stay firmly on the right side of over polished.

Five years from now, one of these men could be producing a one eye French didgeridoo player covering When The Sun Goes Down backwards. Or they may still be making neo-classic night out fodder that also sounds great on the no.74 bus. You decide.

Andy Peterson

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