In previous album ‘Whorl’, Simian Mobile Disco’s leftfield gamble was a huge success; its swirling contents, glazed with analogue burbles and glistening synths, amounted to a refreshing twist of experimentation. With its club-ready, off-kilter tech, their latest cut sees Simian Mobile Disco come full circle. But while the offering is littered with typically intricate beats and intelligent textures, a lack of ambition restrains ‘Welcome To Sideways’.
As warped as its record sleeve, the lead single is worthy of your go-to party playlist, but ultimately doesn’t match the euphoria of predecessing equivalent ‘Tangents’. Then comes a host of sagging seven to nine-minute long mid-album chunks, such as ‘Face To Face With Spoon’ and ‘Space Is Filled With Ringing’, which become a tad relentless.
However the duo’s refusal to surrender to lean 3.5 minute long radio-friendly stabs should be respected — especially from a producer in James Ford (Florence + The Machine, Foals and Arctic Monkeys), who undoubtedly has the dexterity to commercialise and cash-in on this 13-year-old project.
Though while there are more than enough spells of enjoyment to be found in this release (its late-on ambience is delectably expansive, for instance) there’s not enough to forward-catapult Simian Mobile Disco’s 13-year evolution. ‘Welcome To Sideways’ sits comfortably amongst older material, but is more regressive than revolutionary.
Words: Jordan Foster
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