Simian Mobile Disco
This review originally ran in AP 287.
The third proper album from the disco-minded London production duo de-emphasizes guest vocalists and replaces cartoonish Technicolor beats with subtle techno pulses and crisp hi-hats. However, Unpatterns is actually more engaging and accessible than Simian Mobile Disco’s past work, perhaps because no gimmicks or distractions cloud the band’s analog alchemy. The vocal hooks that do appear (muffled ghoul slurs and fallen-angel harmonies on “I Waited For You,” the yearning diva wails of “Seraphim”) function as atmosphere instead of as focal points. Unpatterns’ music explodes with similar textured nuance; Ping-Pong-ball perforations battle with digital squeaks on “Interference,” while chilled bloops and sine-wave melodies swerve through “A Species Out Of Control.” The album recalls the moodiness of ’90s electronica superstar Underworld—although SMD’s dance-floor grooves are retro-fabulous and stubbornly futuristic.