Simian Mobile Disco apes much of what made the late '80s fertile as well as fetid. On the British duo's full-length debut, James Ford and James Shaw revel in the pure HiNRG and hip-house that propelled Todd Terry, Tommy Boy, and Technotronic. Peppered throughout the melodic electrohaus mélange are nods to Chicago acid's uncompromising squelches, Freestyle's fonky syncopation, and Italo Disco's clunky chords.
That said, in the same year as similarly definitive dance-pop records from France's J.U.S.T.I.C.E. and Germany's Digitalism, Attack Decay Sustain Release needs to do more than trigger memories; it needs to deliver the straight adrenaline. But the disc is so finely honed it falls short of flush. The group's bristliest synths aren't as prickling as those of J.U.S.T.I.C.E.; where the latter would masticate, the former merely modulates, and the analytical threatens to cloud the visceral. Simian Mobile Disco's vascular constriction comes on the strongest in "Sleep Deprivation," "Tits & Acid," "Wooden," and "System," songs spewing tangents of attenuating trills that trumpet an intent to fist your neurotransmitters. Attack Decay Sustain Release is a fine album; it just pales in comparisons. Simian Mobile Disco achieves plenty of pneumatic pop, but could use a little more snap and crackle.