UK-based electronic duo Simian Mobile Disco has been spending a lot of time in the studio recently. Just over a year after their second studio release, Temporary Pleasure, we are given their third studio album, and what a "treat" it is. Delicacies is Simian Mobile Disco's foray towards a more techno-based sound that is more unique than anything they've ever done before, taking elements that have worked for them in the past and adding an awesome layer of quirkiness and oddity. The concept for the album is that each of the nine songs takes the name of an exotic, bizarre delicacy that they've eaten while touring abroad. That concept is simply awesome and gives off the bizarre mood that you'll find while listening to this album, which is quite possibly the most unique electronic album you will listen to this year.
If you've ever listened to Simian Mobile Disco before there is one thing that comes to mind, and that is pounding, heavy-hitting bass. Don't worry, there is plenty of bass to be found here, but added on top is the unique style that the duo has slowly established over the last couple of years. You'll find plenty of odd sounds and quirky synth loops, but somehow it completely works. The album is meant to accompany the duo's new nightclub project 'Delicatessen,' which makes the new techno-based direction of their sound a lot more clear.
Every single song on this album makes you wonder one simple thing: what the hell does this delicacy look and taste like? The album's main singles "Aspic" and "Nerve Salad," released in April, sound absolutely ridiculous based on their titles, but when you actually listen to them they are clubby, synth-heavy gems that are the perfect test for the rest of the album. The second set of singles "Casu Marzu" and "Thousand Year Egg," released in September, also sound absurd (what is a "Thousand Year Egg"?!), but beneath the weird song titles are carefully crafted tracks that are extremely catchy.
All of the other songs on the album follow the same guideline of weird title combined with amazing song. It's a bit of a turnoff at first, but once looking past the odd delicacies that have been enjoyed (or not) by the British duo, every song offers something unique and flows very well from one to the next. "Sweetbread" is possibly the best song on the album, with extremely smooth yet hard bass lines and amazing synth work. The song even comes with a music video, which you can watch here, that is probably the most disturbing and odd thing you will ever see. "Ortolan," which I found out was a rare European bird, is also one of the best songs on the album, being one of the most upbeat and unique songs you'll find on Delicacies.
It is clear that Simian Mobile Disco are still on top of their game, with every album they make bringing them farther away from traditional electronic music and into a category of their own. At first, Delicacies gave off strange vibes, but after listening to it many, many times over the past few days it has very quickly grown on me. It's great to hear electronic music that walks off the regular path every once in a while, and Simian Mobile Disco has done this in a tight, consistent package. This album is easily the most unique delicacy in a genre that is being flooded with bland fast food crap.
Download: "Sweetbread," "Ortolan," and "Casu Marzu." And you might as well spend a bit of time looking up what all of these delicacies actually are.