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Au revoir Simone

Still Night, Still Light

[Our Secret; 2009]

By ; November 10, 2009 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

New York City is one hell of a place. Emily Haines recently made the observation that the Strokes’ Is This It revived the city from a musical depression, sending the message to musicians that it was OK to make music from the heart again. Whether you agree or not, it’s impossible to deny the musical force that is New York City.

It’s easy to get lost in the Big Apple, and for Au Revoir Simone, it’s unfortunate that they are often lost in the crowd. Now into their third album, it would be difficult to disagree that more credit is due for the three girls. If you’re familiar with any of their work, you will know that it’s not the most theoretically complex of music, and nor is it anything ground breaking; it’s three girls with some old childhood Casios and a few drum machines. That’s it. It’s pretty simple, and for their entire lifespan, this recipe is what has made Au Revoir so attractive. They combine the most simplistic music with memorable melodies from their choir of angelic voices to create great songs.

However, three albums in, it’s impossible to not be skeptical that this recipe will start to lose its charm. Skeptics be damned, Still Night, Still Light is perhaps Au Revoir Simone’s most charming work to date. “Knights of Wands” begins like every other Au Revoir Simone song: a Casio preset of an organ and a programmed drum beat. But damn, it’s impossible not to be taken slightly a back as the track unexpectedly stops for the girls to step in with some claps. It sounds so simple, and on paper, it’s perhaps the most unimpressive to write about, but it just works. “Anywhere You Looked” is fast paced, has one of the most re-used chord sequences in music history, but the girls voices draw you in, stupefy you, and leave you elated for no good reason. It’s a peculiar thing to experience. “Shadows” – can best summate the album – in that is creates an interesting combination of haunted and dire undertones through the instrumentation (which can be solely attributed to the organ), whilst it perfectly juxtaposed as the female vocals, regardless of lyrical content, can instill the most sincere sense of hope and positivism within the listener. Once more, it’s peculiar.

By the end of Still Night, Still Light, you can’t help but feel a bit confused. It’s almost the equivalent of that attractive girl that winks at you, making you weak at the knees. You know nothings going to happen, but you’re charmed, in a daze, and left talking about her for weeks. However, you eventually realise what happened, and you can’t help but feel a fool by being tricked by her so easily, and so you forget. It’s a simple album, and it will cast a spell upon you; that is, if you’re willing to fall under its magic.


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