Lesson two of five in nostalgia…
A sleek, compact party album...
From Klaxons to Arctic Monkeys, Peaches to Florence and the Machine, James Ford is the man twiddling the knobs for some of the biggest acts in music right now. But between production stints, he is also one half of Simian Mobile Disco: one of the nation’s most acclaimed dance acts.
Here, the duo return with their second album, following 2007 debut ‘Attack Sustain Decay Release’. Ford, alongside collaborator Jas Shaw, has used his impressive contacts list and recruited the likes of Beth Ditto, Hot Chip and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys to make guest appearances on the this record, a more cohesive and euphoric offering than its predecessor.
At just ten tracks ‘Temporary Pleasures’ isn’t around for a long time, but it sure is up for a good one. A hedonistic atmosphere runs through it at all times, and the Rhys-featuring ‘Cream Dream’ is an opener of perfect scene-setting tone. Similar to last year’s Neon Neon album, on which the SFA singer worked with producer Boom Bip, it’s a synth-heavy retro throwback with falsetto hooks and a nagging electronic pulse. Soon enough we’re subjected to the amazing ‘Audacity of Huge’, featuring Chris Keating of Brooklyn experimentalists Chris Keating of Yesayer, his charismatic appearance see him crooning lines about “a bag of Bill Murray, a Damien Hurst telephone” – it’s a surreal ode to pop culture and an expression unrequited love, and possibly one of the finest songs of the year to date.
As an album that sees the act on the front cover often fading into the background (purposefully, you suspect), the success of ‘Temporary Pleasure’ does somewhat rely on the performances from its numerous guests. Pointless hipsters Young Fathers and the underwhelming Jamie Lidell, appearing on ‘Turn Up The Dial’ and ‘Off The Map’ respectively, do nothing for the album, but when the vocalists nail it they elevate the record to greatness. Beth Ditto is such a singer, her turn on the wonderful ‘Cruel Intentions’ releasing the disco diva that has lurked inside her for so long. Soulful yet eminently danceable, it is better than anything on the most recent Gossip album. Similarly Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor brings playful rhythms to the table on ‘Bad Blood’, his woozy tones sitting well beside Afro-pop beats.
If you’re looking for a sleek and compact party album for the summer you could do a lot worse than ‘Temporary Pleasure’, an album that should see Ford and Shaw truly make names for themselves as artists in their own right, rather than big-name producers with a bit on the side.
Words: David Renshaw
Simian Mobile Disco