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Simian Mobile Disco
Temporary Pleasure Iain Moffat , August 12th, 2009 13:25

People with guitars! Never underestimate the benefits of succumbing to the siren call of the dancefloor. Take the Bee Gees, for example; once naught but a faintly folksome memory, their unexpected deftness at disco saw them selling by the squillion and becoming one of the defining bands of the 70s and, arguably, beyond. Or consider Everything But The Girl, reduced to a byword for bedsit blandery before they were welcomed to the junglist ranks and became a proper household name. And then there's Simian, who, as recently as five years ago, seemed destined to be strictly a briefly fashionable footnote in the tale of the 21st century, and, while it may not be clear just why they suddenly got in touch with their inner glitterball, the results have been remarkable; first greatness came calling, courtesy of the astounding _Attack Decay Sustain Release, and now the greats have followed suit.

Make no mistake: Temporary Pleasure has one of the finest guest lists seen in quite some time. But, in keeping with their veteran standing, Simian Mobile Disco are shrewd enough to know that unless you make the most of this sort of opportunity you'll end up with a folly on the scale of Psyence Fiction or, worse, Scorpio Rising. So some of the time they play to their chums' strengths, with Jamie Lidell both returning to his mechanical roots and touching on the salaciousness of his modern-day Wonder incarnation on the urgently Yello-like 'Off The Map', Telepathe being cast in melodramatically neo-electroclash environs for the finale 'Pinball', and Alexis Taylor adding to his cheeringly off-kilter credentials via the sinister pathos and ostinato theatrics of 'Bad Blood'.

Elsewhere, however, a riskier approach pays dividends too. Gruff Rhys may already have earned his extra-curricular clubby stripes, but that doesn't stop 'Cream Dream' — which showcases his many voices over what appears to be a Trevor Horn rainstorm circa 1982 — being a genuine delight. And Yeasayer's Chris Keating moves even further out of his comfort zone on 'Audacity Of Huge', which is amusingly bizarre: potentially SMD's very own 'Lazy', and a pitch-perfect satire of the bling-bejewelled breast-beating so prevalent on 808s and Heartbreaks (a fantastically cheeky call, given how publicly stroppy Kanye was about them at the MTV Europe Awards some years back).

Moreover, there's perhaps even better material on hand here. 'Cruel Intentions', for example, may not be the most righteous record Beth Ditto's ever made, but it's comfortably one of the best, setting a performance that's virtually Lynda-Carter-as-Wonder-Woman in its dervishness over a profoundly muscular ultra-pop backing. Meanwhile, Scots hip-hop genii — and how we wish we could type that more often — the Young Fathers excel as always on 'Turn Up The Dial', which is nothing less than a torrid tryst between George Clinton and Blackalicious. Even the stuff Ford and Shaw are doing unaided sparkles, with 'Synthesise' blending drum-happy minimalism, Rollo-style keyboard stabs and triumphant house testifying and '10000 Horses Can't Be Wrong' proving to be a wrong-footingly ecstatic gallop. 2009 may have set the bar higher for dance music than any of the last fifteen years, but Simian Mobile Disco have sashayed up to it fearlessly; consequently, Temporary Pleasure is an enduring joy from end to end.