After birthing themselves amongst the long-faded Nu-Rave scene of the late 2010s, Simian Mobile Disco have always looked to be one step ahead of their contemporaries. While others were tooting their air sirens and stamping on synthesisers, these two were out to make a more long-standing contribution to electronic music. Their debut used classic techno and acid house influences with a post-modern twist to deliver one of the most original albums of the last decade. And over the years, we have seen themselves go much further than anyone else to conceive their own take on current trends. Now onto album number four, the pair have once again pushed the envelope on what we expect from electronic music.
The main coup that this album has is that it was entirely recorded in a live environment. While most commercial music these days is knocked out in an afternoon on a laptop, Simian Mobile Disco have looked to reintroduce the human element to electronics and you can certainly hear that in the record. It's ever so slightly unpolished sound gives you a constant reminder that the machines are not in control here and you are listening to musicians perform their work. But rather than opt for the huge club banging sound they have been known for, they have created an album that is more suited to home listening than anything else. It's not until track three, 'Sun Dogs', that we get to hear some percussion and opens the album up to the idea that electronic music needed just be for dancing to.
While it is all very impressive on paper, not everything on this record suits their new direction. Half the record is an intriguing journey into the minds of these two producers, while the other half seems to just fill in the gaps. It has some great moments throughout but not enough to make it a truly brilliant album.