Don’t say you didn’t see this one coming. With a phonebook that includes many of indie’s glitterati, James Ford and Jas Shaw were always going to be able to pull in some impressive names for their second Simian Mobile Disco album. So, in-between Ford’s production duties for Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine and the Last Shadow Puppets and Ford’s new role as a father, the duo managed to knock up an impressive follow-up to 2007’s Attack Decay Sustain Release that works as a great dance record without becoming swamped by its guestlist.
That said, Temporary Pleasure is definitely bolstered by the likes of Gruff Rhys (no stranger to synth arrangements thanks to last year’s Neon Neon album) who appears on opener ‘Cream Team’, a retrograde number that still positively manages to conjure images of chrome cars and a 50s pseudo sci-fi view of the the future. You may have heard ‘Audacity of Huge’ already, featuring Chris Keating of Yeasayer, who steps outside of himself to deliver an uncharacteristic yet successful R&B diva vocal role while subtle squealing synths ping around in the background as a thumping synth bassline keeps it together.
A real diva appears shortly afterwards – Beth Ditto of The Gossip in the funky house of ‘Cruel Intentions’. Ditto has never sounded so comfortable and restrained and it suits her and her collaborators while Jamie Lidell steps into his freestyle shoes once again for the mechanical throwback ‘Off The Map’. In the latter half of the album we get guest turns from Alexis Taylor on the admittedly Hot Chip-esque ‘Bad Blood’, club-hop MCs Young Fathers appear on the grime-influenced ‘Turn Up The Dial’ and Telepathe are perfectly matched to the sparse electro of closing track ‘Pinball’.
There’s a little bit of every major dance genre on the record and when the duo go it alone sans guests they keep to that standard. ‘10,000 Horses Can’t Be Wrong’ is an epic-sounding instrumental with a strange sparkling synth line as the dominant hook and ‘Synthesise’ is drowned in old-school house and drum euphoria. The most prevalent difference between debut Attack Decay Sustain Release and Temporary Pleasure is a depth beyond the 4/4 minimalism of the former, aided by a broader palette of dance flourishes. It is SMD’s production and execution that stands out the most and for an album which features heavyweight musical guests aplenty, that’s an impressive outcome.