Au Revoir Simone at the Garage
Four years ago all-female synth trio Au Revoir Simone released their third and most successful album. Still Night, Still Light catapulted the group to musical notoriety, their electro dream-pop sound leading them on countless world tours and featuring on TV series such as Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty. The trio return to London in the wake of their fourth album release, Move In Spectrums, which sees their wistful sonic keyboards plumb new textures, darker in hue and heavier in melancholic dissonance.
Onstage the willowy trio cast a delicate presence, their sinewy movements gracefully pulsing to each tinny drum beat. Each member holds a unique charisma; Erika Forster is vivaciously perky, Heather D’Angelo, dark and brooding, while Annie Hart holds the role of frontwoman, lovingly interacting with the crowd and imploring the lights to brighten so she can “see more of the audience”. “I want to feel and connect with them,” she demands.
The group play a mixture of old and new tracks, yet the songs of Move In Spectrums are decidedly bolder, their signature bright synths and breathy, ethereal notes are strengthened, producing a layering of electronics that echo through the space in a barrage of reverberation and cacophonous clashes. Somebody Who, the latest single, glitters with dizzying cascades of electronics that bristle with crackling reverb and static beats. Here, the group’s wraith-like voices are used to perfection in delicate three-part harmonies and cleaver constructed cannons that hum with bright resonance. Another Likely Story uses strong chord progressions and vivid, chiming notes that perch on the edge uneasiness as they merge from discord to brightness. Here, the use of bass guitar is a welcome addition to the glut of synth, evening the sound. Special touches such as the walking piano scales of The Lead is Galloping, which flutter over dissonant notes only serve to strengthen the twisting, ethereal soundscape.
Despite moments of serene beauty and the nostaligic novelty of an all-synth band, the lack of instrumentation limited Au Revoir Simone’s performance. In spite of each woman’s alluring voice it was rare that they utilised their vocal talents to the full, often relying too heavily on reverb, echoes and delays. The simplistic combination of female vocal and synth did become tedious at points, mirrored in the restlessness that often overtook the audience. Overall, Au Revoir Simone delivered a beautiful evening, yet one did leave with a creeping sense of dissatisfaction.
Photos: Jack Downes
For further information and future events visit Au Revoir Simone’s website here.
Watch the video for Somebody Who here: