Listen to 405 Radio
  • No Events

    We'll get something in the diary soon

Simian Mobile Disco - Live

Simian Mobile Disco - Live

by , 10 April 2013

It's a tricky time to release a live LP. In the last six months or so LCD Soundsystem and Led Zeppelin, two very different but highly significant bands, released two extremely poignant live recordings. Both to critical acclaim. Both rendering everything else released around the same time pretty much pointless

So, for Simian Mobile Disco, a band that only occasionally pops up in public consciousness to release a couple of singles, maybe a record if we're lucky, to take on heavyweights like those is extremely brave. And when you consider that Daft Punk, the duo that pretty much defined how to do live house albums with with Alive 2007, have been making more than waves in the past month, the timing for the SMD Live LP couldn't be trickier.

SMD fans then, should perhaps be thankful that the London duo not only have the catalogue of music to make the prospect of a live release incredibly exciting, they also have the live credentials – they're not studio DJs, they're out in the field playing live shows regularly, most notably a residency at FIXED in NYC which spawned the Is Fixed album in 2010.

In many ways Live is a testament to SMD, their music and their attitude towards dance. Mixes of 'Aspic', 'Cerulean' and others come across fantastically, adding new a new dimension to classic tracks. And there's a sense throughout that Ford and Shaw are completely focused from start to finish - there's a precision to all of it.

'Cruel Intentions', the centrepiece of 2009's Temporary Pleasure, which featured the incredible, although somewhat restrained, vocals of Beth Ditto, is again here the showpiece. It's the track you wait 40 minutes for and hold onto for the fleeting few seconds it lingers before SMD start to wrap up. But, actually, they wrap it up far, far too quickly.

Then again 'Cruel Intentions' isn't necessarily the track the hardcore SMD fan, which is who the live shows and this album are for, would be as interested in as much as, say, the closing tracks, 'Put Your Hands Together' and 'Sleep Deprivation'.

Overall, Live is a much darker interpretation of SMD's music. Often brooding, with little time for the pop hooks they're perhaps most loved for, and plenty of time spent playing with murky spiralling basslines and fiddling with frequency filters. On Live it's almost impossible to distinguish that iconic beeping melody from 'It's the Beat' after the first few moments.

What lets the record down, and unfortunately it's a big issue, is the way it's been produced. Live records should have atmosphere; you should be able to feel the audience react as SMD drop 'It's The Beat'. But instead what you get is a sort of canned laughter, a murmur of interest in between tracks that does little to excite. It's almost as if they forgot they were making a live record and only happened to catch a few moments of crowd noise spill over onto whatever microphones were set up on stage by sheer accident.

It's a fundamental floor in an otherwise decent live record, and it's a shame. It doesn't make you wish you were there, it doesn't make you regret not buying a ticket.

This then, is the sort of live record you put on at a house party after midnight, when you're too drunk to manage the Spotify playlist and your 'friends' have given up faffing about playing half-song after half-song on their own iPod. It's not a defining career moment for an otherwise influential and often polarising act but you can be sure it'll keep the party going till the small hours.

Rating: 6/10

Purchase and listen

Don't Miss Out

Related Reviews

  • Single of The Week

    Single of The Week

    by Euan Mackay

    A brand new year is upon us and we see a pretty slow start in terms of single releases... As ever, we're needing your input to determine which is THE single of the week... Here's the shortlist for this week... Lost Prophets - 'Where We Belong' Delphic - 'Doubt' The Saturdays - 'Ego' The Temper Trap - 'Fader' Yeasayer - 'Ambling Alp' Simian Mobile Disco - 'Cruel Intentions' Yes, it's suc... [read more]

  • Single Of The Week?  You Decide...

    Single Of The Week? You Decide...

    by Euan Mackay

    Last week's convincing winner of Single of the Week, was Fever Ray, who progress to the playoffs. This week we have another stellar lineup of singles for you to pick the bones out of. (see Danny's review here) Here's the shortlist of those singles that are this week contending for 'Single of the Week' crown... Casiokids - 'Finn Bikkjen/Gomurmamma' Laruso - Plain Paper Napkins Red Light Company - Meccano Citadels - Golden Islands Emmy The Great - Edward EP Simia... [read more]

  • Simian Mobile Disco - Audacity Of Huge

    Simian Mobile Disco - Audacity Of Huge

    by Tim Boddy

    Label: Wichita Recordings Release date: (03/08/09) Website: A few years after switching to the full-on electro world, Simian Mobile Disco find themselves at the forefront of the mainstream dance circuit. Now they are back with new single Audacity Of Huge, a couple of years after the, well, huge album Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release. A more minimal approach is apparent – not on the minimal electro end of things, sure – but not quite as layered as... [read more]

  • Simian Mobile Disco - Anything but 'Temporary Pleasure'

    Simian Mobile Disco - Anything but 'Temporary Pleasure'

    by D.S Wadeson

    Label: Polydor Group Release date: 17.08.09 Website: Simian Myspace Simian Mobile Disco, a.k.a. Jas Shaw and James Ford, follow up their excellent 2007 debut Attack Sustain Delay Release with a record that, in many ways, has a lot in common with another electro-duo of Manchester Uni grads; namely Chemical Brothers. Having said that, although the itnerant purveyors of ape dance parties latest album Temporary Pleasure is their most accessible and commercial to date, it definitely retains... [read more]


Follow Us

Recommended Posts

Popular Posts

Mailing List

Sign up to our weekly mailing list.