Simian Mobile Disco’s proper debut, Attack Decay Sustain Release, really couldn’t come at a better time, with releases from Justice, Digitalism and the Field all resonating strongly with the indie-rock crowd. James Shaw and James Ford (the sole members of the London-based group) seem poised to earn comparable accolades with their brand of bouncy electronics and shout-along hooks. But whereas their contemporaries released albums that were at once challenging and familiar, Simian Mobile Disco sacrificed experimentation for crossover appeal. As such, Attack Decay Sustain Release’s fruits have been plucked after only a handful of spins.
Simian Mobile Disco formed in the wake of the dissolution of electro-rock four-piece Simian, most famous for having a sophomore album produced by Brian Eno and being the benefactors of Justice’s mind-blowing remix of their “Never Be Alone.” Taking a cue from the recent electronic-music trend, Shaw and Ford abandoned the rock, and the bulk of Attack Decay Sustain Release is dedicated to bubbly hooks and smooth, elastic electronics. With fluid synths, cheeky vocals, and a solid four-on-the-floor backdrop, the album covers the basics in creating a party atmosphere in its ten tracks (five of which were released as singles, dating back to mid-2006). Following a similar aesthetic, new track “Love” and “I Believe” are new-wave replicas with giant, soulful choruses over micro-detailed pounding beats and entwined synths.
Attack Decay Sustain Release sets a dance-friendly party mood and sustains it over the course of forty minutes, but it does not explore new territory. Any entertainment offered by the album is merely at face value.