Published Nov 09, 2016On Simian Mobile Disco's last album, 2014's Whorl, the duo set very specific restrictions on their recording process, opting for manually operated modular synthesizers to help challenge the way they approached their craft. On Welcome to Sideways, their followup, the British producers return to digital recording techniques, crafting nine tracks specifically designed to sound large, broad and dance floor-friendly. For the uninitiated, though: SDM's definition of what constitutes dance music differs from what your average DJ may cue up on the ones and twos.
Once again drawing influences from first-wave techno, this sixth LP marks consecutive albums on which the duo have abandoned the parade of guest vocalists for bubbling, introspective instrumentals. After originally writing 20 tracks and testing them out at various clubs across the UK, the material that makes up Welcome to Sideways feels lean and focused, as SMD follow specific musical themes. Tracks like "Faraway From a Distance," "Staring at All This Handle" and "Remember in Reverse" are designed to play with the listener's senses, as warbled beats and fuzzy-toned rhythms drop in and out — though not as dramatically or salaciously as much club music is designed to do. The synth melodies on "Happening Distractions," "Flying or Falling" and "Drone Follows Me Everywhere," meanwhile, are as clear and present as ever.
After challenging themselves on Whorl, Simian Mobile Disco push their craft as far as their comfort level will allow on Welcome to Sideways. (Delicacies)