Simian-Mobile-Disco

The speed with which dance music currently mutates means that even relatively new acts like Simian Mobile Disco – their debut is less than five years old – feel like establishment figures. Accordingly, the choice they face on their fourth album is whether to try and keep up, or stick to a trademark sound and risk sounding more outdated with every passing release. Disconcertingly, ‘Unpatterns’ tries to do both, with mixed results.

In the slow-and-steady corner, ‘A Species Out Of Control’ is drab electro that is unlikely even to have sounded exciting in 2007, but the gleaming whooshes of ‘Interference’ shimmer among its woozy synth lines with a pleasing power that makes up for its obviousness. Among the predictable though is the subtly innovative – in particular the soulful, post-dubstep atmospherics of ‘Seraphim’ – but in terms of progress, the hotchpotch of styles makes for a frustrating listen: enough of ‘Unpatterns’ suggests that SMD have the chops to push their sound forward, but its timidity frequently feels lazy.

By Sam Walton