Music

Simian Mobile Disco: Temporary Pleasure

While Temporary Pleasure is not quite the mirage that is virtual reality, it is certainly fleeting and a perfect addition for those looking to update their summer soundtrack playlist for 2009 (or 2007).


Simian Mobile Disco

Temporary Pleasure

Label: Wichita
US Release Date: 2009-08-31
UK Release Date: 2009-08-17
Amazon
iTunes

Simian Mobile Disco (ie, James Ford and Jas Shaw) first showed us with 2007’s Attack Decay Sustain Release that they were as good at producing original material as they were at refashioning other great dance-punk revivalists such as Klaxons and the Go! Team. The album pinched Hot Chip’s cheek and Revenge of the Nerds’ whimsy together with LCD Soundsystem’s minimal beat and one-line hooks into a set of fluff-less tunes to monkey about to with unapologetic abandon. To be sure, the album, with production values rivalling Daft Punk’s, didn’t do much to shift the sands in dance music, but it did provide a fillip to the Nike High Top wearing, glow stick twirling wave that spread over the UK like the flu.

Speaking of Hot Chip, its sprawling but superlative magnet Made in the Dark (2008) very nearly sated appetites for brilliant manoeuvrings at the periphery of dance pop. In contrast, Attack didn’t, but also didn’t pretend to. Temporary Pleasure, which incidentally features Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, follows this lack of pretension with more familiar fun decadence for the Energizer Battery Ibiza crowd, nothing more. Of course its title suggests as much. It is a slate of 10 pithy tracks that, unlike what we’ve heard on Attack, channels '80s rave and '90s Eurodisco into the pop song structure. This doesn’t however prevent some tracks like “Cream Dream” from being visited by the kind of frivolous, even superfluous lyricism so typical of club music. This reaches a head with single “Audacity of Huge”, a middling Devo-meets-Kraftwerk treatment that lets loose an infatuation with contemporary pop culture as well as the lingering malaise of unrequited love.

Unfortunately, in the grander Simian narrative the album indicates the duo at a stasis; 2007, the year of Attack, never really ended. Things have just gotten more pop. Even so Temporary Pleasure does bare some recognition from the alt-star cast Simian Mobile Disco chose to attend their Blitz party. Besides Taylor, they include Beth Ditto of the much-vaunted Gossip and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals. Rather than a mere showing off of Simian Mobile Disco's connectedness with the vanguard of hip, their utilising of Taylor, Ditto and Rhys provides the saving grace for a dance album that would otherwise vanish like a sugar high once the lights come on. We know that vanishing like a sugar high is the group’s intention but for the person thinking of investing in them it’ll be like paying the rent. You’ll never see the money again.

Gruff Rhys features on the Neu-style stabbing-synth scene setter “Cream Dream”, going falsetto because it’s so de rigueur of synth-pop, while Ditto’s hefty yet ethereal vocals a la Gloria Gaynor duly fill in the techno sparseness of “Cruel Intentions”. “Bad Blood”, which is of the same pedigree as anything on Hot Chip’s Coming on Strong (2004), features Taylor's vague Balearic rumble with smatterings of viscous-like synths riding over cool finger-click beats. But the highlight doesn’t come until the final track “Pin Ball”, a track that reveals Simian Mobile Disco’s predilection for avant-electronica. This is in no small part owing to the participation of Brooklyn electronic duo Telepathe. Their pixie-like vocal confections worm in stereo around heartbeat polyrhythms like the double helix while drops of synth and dabs of fuzz beef up the track’s kaleidoscopic element.

But then you have scene-destroying throwaway tracks like Jamie Liddell’s sexed-up “Off the Map”, which does nothing but get one’s eyes rolling at the Calvin Harris-style silliness of it all. But at just over four minutes, it’s one of the longest tracks on the album. Of course the silliness is just what Simian Mobile Disco went to great lengths to promote on this record, although probably not the comparison with self-important bad sport Messr Harris.

Ironically, Simian Mobile Disco have chosen to welcome the release of Temporary Pleasure with a conceptually challenging, albeit very temporary, “Augmented Reality” installation in London. According to SMD’s website, "Augmented Reality" refers to the art of making virtual objects appear to exist in the real world. Although Temporary Pleasure is not quite the mirage that is virtual reality, it is certainly fleeting and a perfect addition for those looking to update their summer soundtrack playlist for 2009 (or 2007).

6

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.

Film

Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.

Music

3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".

Books

'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.

Music

Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor
Film

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.

Music

Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.

Music

Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.

Music

Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.

Music

Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.

Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.