I don’t think you need to know this; thanks to the impact the duo of James Ford and Jas Shaw have had on the scene, especially due to their numerous remixes of artists as diverse as Bjork, The Arctic Monkeys and Air, but here goes anyway. Starting as a branch off from the four-piece band they were in, simply known as Simian, the duo set off on a musical journey of low profile releases and celebrity remixes, until the underground hit “Hustler” allowed them to record the hit album “Attack Decay Sustain Release” in 2007. Supporting slots for the Klaxons, then The Chemical Brothers lead us to the present day, and a lot to be proud of I guess.
They have every right to be proud – their up-beat electro/tech-house stylings has seen some of the hottest names in the current underground scene beating a path to their door to vocalise for them. Hence on this album we have gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals, Jamie Lidell, and the mighty Beth Ditto, among many others, hogging the microphones.
It is Beth Ditto’s track “Cruel Intentions” that shows instant chart potential – with a sweet, sweet vocal spread lusciously across a pulsating electro rhythm – this wouldn’t just break into the charts, it would destroy it completely.
Highlights for me are the anthemic “10000 Horses Can’t Be Wrong”, which could make any dancefloor sway like the top deck of a cruise liner in a storm. Then there’s the chugging opener “Cream Dream”, with Gruff Rhys in fine form on vocals across a sparse, techno-lite rhythm, and Jamie Lidell all over a slightly wonky “Off the Map”. “Ambulance” checks all the right boxes with me too, being a very acid-electro style dancefloor track – even I would make a fool of myself dancing to this.
Funnily enough, the song chosen as the first single, “Audacity of Huge”, leaves me cold – being nothing more in my eyes than a repetitive irritant than a potential chart-breaker. Also the latter tracks of “Bad Blood” (featuring Hot Chips’ Alexis Taylor) and “Turn up the Dial” (with the Young Fathers) are nowhere near as strong as the earlier material on this album, but that’s what happens when you set off on a sprint in a distance race, I suppose.
So is it worth it? I don’t think I need to give you too much persuasion, so simply yes – it really is. It’s as tempting as ice-cream, but will last a hell of a lot longer on your iPod!