Classic Album: Simian Mobile Disco,
Attack Decay Sustain Release
When the fun is gone from making music, it’s time to call it a day. That was the dawning realisation for the psych pop outfit Simian as they finally descended into fisticuffs in a Texan fish restaurant. They’d had a good run, birthing two acclaimed studio albums and a run of successful singles, but the peculiar stresses of touring had taken their toll.
Drummer James Ford and programmer Jas Shaw had already been tinkering away with what would become their Simian Mobile Disco offshoot, so shedded bassist Alex MacNaghten and vocalist Simon Lord, to concentrate on their increasingly carefree electronic music-based splinter project.
Cheerful remixes with the Simian Mobile Disco stamp came thick and fast, but along the way the duo had also been stockpiling
enough of their own material. So, while the going was good, thoughts naturally turned to making their own artist album.
“We collected together all this stuff we’d been working on,” says Shaw. “It was so much, it wouldn’t fit on one CD. It was like 30 tracks, and the album was made of the ones that had risen to the surface. It was stuff we’d made after little gigs in pubs, and on weekends pissing about the studio.”
Without the bitter in-fighting and creative differences of their previous outfit, Shaw and Ford effortlessly complied and polished the meat of what was to become their debut, Attack Decay Sustain Release.
Its ten tracks took in punchy, hooky, bleepy, beautifully crafted electronica. It was nostalgic for a bygone era of ’80s and ’90s dance music, and it was a joy to make. No more squabbles. No more stress. No more fighting over the smell of fish.
“In Simian our relationship got very painful and fractious,” says Ford. “Me and Jas just went back to what we knew – making what we thought was dance music with a little mixing deck and guitar peddles, influenced by people like Autechre and that ’90s Warp sound. We just went back to having fun.”
2017 marked the ten-year anniversary of Simian Mobile Disco’s debut album, Attack Decay Sustain Release, and to celebrate, they’ve just re-released the original LP, remastered and on double vinyl for the first time, along with a special digital compilation Anthology: 10 Years Of SMD, featuring tracks plucked from their extensive back catalogue. Out now on Wichita Recordings.