Simian Mobile Disco album review

Unpatters

Unpatterns
4/5

It was Justice who, in 2006, booted Simian Mobile Disco into the electrohouse stratosphere via ‘We Are Your Friends’, a heavily bass-weighted, synth-soaked remix of ‘Never Be Alone’ by Simian – the offbeat, indie-pop genesis of SMD. A year later, the DJ/remix pair dropped ‘It’s the Beat’, the first single from their debut album. Five years on and… it’s still the beat. Frankly, what else is there? Lesser talents might now be twitching with third-album anxiety, but James Ford and Jas Shaw are grooving, shimmying, raving… doing anything but nervously twitching.

Unpatterns pulls off the difficult trick of reviving recent(-ish) dance history without indulging in craven retroism. It’s rather a blissed-out, brilliantly buoyant reimagining of the UK’s summer of love, an astute take on rave and house (hard, deep-vocal, piano). It tracks a path from 808 State via Orbital and μ-Ziq to Julio Bashmore and Lone, embracing Larry Levan, David Mancuso et al as it goes. It’s not only a throbbing testament to SMD’s knowledge of this music, but also to their deep love.

‘Put Your Hands Together’ is the multi-tracked centrepiece, a feverish and soaring call to arms set to ignite dancefloors from Vladivostok to Venus. Also of note are gorgeous, gospel-house tune ‘Seraphim’ and the insistently percolating ‘Interference’. There are patterns in this history, of course, but dogged path-following is not SMD’s way. The destination, though, is shared – house, sweet house.

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