Simian Mobile Disco

Attack Decay Sustain Release (Interscope Records)

Simian Mobile Disco apes much of what made the late '80s fertile as well as fetid. On the British duo's full-length debut, James Ford and James Shaw revel in the pure HiNRG and hip-house that propelled Todd Terry, Tommy Boy, and Technotronic. Peppered throughout the melodic electrohaus mélange are nods to Chicago acid's uncompromising squelches, Freestyle's fonky syncopation, and Italo Disco's clunky chords.


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That said, in the same year as similarly definitive dance-pop records from France's J.U.S.T.I.C.E. and Germany's Digitalism, Attack Decay Sustain Release needs to do more than trigger memories; it needs to deliver the straight adrenaline. But the disc is so finely honed it falls short of flush. The group's bristliest synths aren't as prickling as those of J.U.S.T.I.C.E.; where the latter would masticate, the former merely modulates, and the analytical threatens to cloud the visceral. Simian Mobile Disco's vascular constriction comes on the strongest in "Sleep Deprivation," "Tits & Acid," "Wooden," and "System," songs spewing tangents of attenuating trills that trumpet an intent to fist your neurotransmitters. Attack Decay Sustain Release is a fine album; it just pales in comparisons. Simian Mobile Disco achieves plenty of pneumatic pop, but could use a little more snap and crackle.

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