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"Still Night, Still Light"

Au Revoir Simone – Still Night, Still Light
19 May 2009, 09:00 Written by Angelica Tatam
ars_coverAu Revoir Simone's Myspace page doesn't list any bands as influences, only nine different brands of synthesiser. The list of what they sound like is identical: “casio, roland, korg, alesis, rhythm ace, univox, yamaha, nord, and suzuki”.It makes sense: the band gives the impression of not feeling the need to pay attention to the rest of the world of music. It's not exactly that there aren't comparisons that could be drawn ”“ Azure Ray, Broadcast, any number of tweeish indiepop bands ”“ but the ethereal quality of their music sites it in a kind of insulated dreamscape, the aural equivalent of The Virgin Suicides. It’s impressionistic music, untouchable but leaving imprints of places and feelings on the heart and mind. Their recent TLOBF feature brushes over some of these: beautiful moonscapes. Mystical visions of nature. Subtleties of dark and light. Fragile but strong, and complicated and balanced. Still Night, Still Light, Au Revoir Simone’s third album, has subtler and glossier production than its predecessor, 2007’s The Bird of Music, but very much retains the same sound and spirit. All of the songs fall somewhere between “fast yet understated electropop” (‘Knight of Wands’, ‘Anywhere You Looked’) and “sparse and delicate ballad” (‘We Are Here’), and even where the lyrics are optimistic and the tunes upbeat, are underpinned by an air of melancholy, a wistful sigh that speaks to the past and the future, but never the present. Lie down and listen to it with your eyes closed, and Still Night will wash over you and draw you into a dreamy world of its own.However, whilst the new record manages to maintain a consistency of quality throughout, there are few of the shining moments that could be found all over the band’s previous album. Listening to the whole thing is an enjoyable and evocative experience, but once over it is difficult to recall more than the occasional snippet of what one’s just heard. Only one song ”“ ‘Knight of Wands’ ”“ displays the pop loveliness of ‘Stars’, ‘Sad Song’ or ‘Dark Halls’, and nothing compares to the ominous majesty of ‘A Violent Yet Flammable World’.I know that Au Revoir Simone are capable of a truly transcendent album. Still Night, though, may be unusually pretty, even beautiful, but is just slightly too insubstantial to leave a lasting imprint. 70%Au Revoir Simone on Myspace
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