The Simonsound – Reverse Engineering review

The Simonsound are in fact Matt Ford (aka hip-hop producer DJ Format) and Simon James, and on Reverse Engineering they’ve united to go on a Moog-fuelled odyssey into a funky and kitsch world of their own. Having initially drummed up interest by releasing two 7″ singles featuring covers of Kraftwerk’s “Tour De France” and The Jimmy Castor Bunch’s B-boy classic “It’s Just Begun,” they’ve turned the project into a full blown album and it’s huge amount of fun from start to finish.

Both of the initial singles appear on the album – “Tour De Mars” (as they’ve retitled it) kicking things off in style. As with almost all of the material here, funky live drums underpin extensive use of vintage synths, making it a pleasing cross between the earnest output of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the slightly more tongue-in-cheek 90’s covers project, The Moog Cookbook.

Downtempo Psychedlic rock and soundtracks bear an influence on Hole In The Head and also the gourgeous Bad Love, which wraps a female vocal among layers of John Barry-esque strings and slow, doom-laden beats. The beatless and theramin-filed Inside The Capsule will instantly make listeners think of vintage Dr. Who, as will the experimental Against The Clock, while a cover of Bob James’ Nautilus sails along nicely using keyboard preset beats. With their cover of It’s Just Begun rounding off the album, the duo pull off this experiment well. Reverse Engineering is certainly very retro but it bears all the right influences. With the playing and arrangements all so accomplished, let’s hope they have another go again soon.

Review: Oliver Keens