Every now and then, I will take an in-depth look at underrated releases from the past, and review any records that failed to receive the success they deserved. Today, I will revisit Simon Says & Will Sid Smith's brilliant debut single, Talk Me into Bed...
You might not think to pair Simon Says (the moniker for Simon Taylor) and Will Sid Smith with each other. Simon Says, an electronic producer, has crafted some of the most under-appreciated house tracks of the last five years, while Will Sid Smith's early work took inspiration from the indie-folk revival. But on their 2017 collaboration Talk Me into Bed, they are exceptional together, producing a seductive R&B track that sounds like a modern Yazoo (well, sort of).
Talk Me into Bed opens with soulful layered vocals, slowly giving way to a sensual drum rhythm that evokes The xx's 2009 self-titled first album. It eventually dissolves into ambient background vocals, crisp percussion hits, and impassioned synths, creating a sonic palette that mirrors the sexual imagery the lyrics paint a picture of: "And drinking your poison / Doesn't make me forget / When you talk me into bed," Smith sings. "You know I don't want you / You talk me into bed." The track pits Smith's emotive vocals against an arrangement that gloriously ebbs and flows, and there's a good sense of balance and variation throughout.
After Will Sid Smith wrote the song, Simon Says handled the production; his touch gives this track the polish it deserves, with plenty of space for sonic trickery - intricate drums, layered vocals and reversed synth-pad textures. However, rather than going for a flashy, over-elaborate production, he keeps things clear and simple: the focus is on Smith's songwriting and vocals, and the production is just the final piece of the puzzle.
If like me, you love vintage songwriting with hints of 90s R&B and detailed production, then you really do need to listen to Simon Says & Will Sid Smith. You can listen to Talk Me into Bed via Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/willsidsmith/talk-me-into-bed
George Miles - Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeMiles6