Producers of dance music (or any music, for that matter) can innovate all they want, but without great songs and excellent productions, they'll never add much to the canon of great records. James Shaw and James Ford, who make up Simian Mobile Disco, are a pair of producers who may not innovate very much -- their chosen field, acid house and acid techno, are relative dinosaurs in the genre -- but they impress much more with the excitement and energy of their productions and songs. There haven't been half a dozen other dance records since Daft Punk's Homework that carry such a raft of great productions, or balance so well what it sounds like to put on an excellent club night within the confines of an LP (especially one that's barely longer than 30 minutes). Simian Mobile Disco also share with Daft Punk (and with younger acts like Spank Rock) the belief that the latest generation of gear doesn't necessarily equate to the best music. Attack Decay Sustain Release has the raw flavor of the best dance records of the '80s and '90s: red-line acid squelching, extroverted vocal features, synth-pop ballads that simply ooze drama, and productions that end in a far different place than where they began. Using vintage gear certainly doesn't always make for great music, but forced simplicity often helps spur the creative process -- and definitely has in this case. Miles away from the usual ranks of cold, programmed-to-perfection dance records, Simian Mobile Disco's debut is a dance record with energy to burn but also subtlety and flair.
AllMusic Review by John Bush