“It’s a long time coming,” Au Revoir Simone sing in the first line of ‘More Than’, the wonderful opener of their new album (Move In Spectrums), and they’re not wrong. The follow-up to their last album, Still Night, Still Light, comes four years after its predecessor. As someone who wasn’t overly enamoured with SNSL, the wait has been more than worth it.
Au Revoir Simone know what they’re good at and the drum machines and layered synthesisers that exemplify their sound are still in full force here, though there’s a noticeable reduction of the three-part harmonies that really made their earlier releases stand out from the crowd. While not entirely absent, it’s a slight edge of disappointment that tinges an otherwise fantastic album. Of course, not every change is a bad thing.
‘Crazy’, the second single, wouldn’t be out of place on a Camera Obscura album, right down to the vintage-sounding guitar line. It’s another departure for a band who have in the past stuck with pre-programmed sounds, though its appearance on a single song suggests it won’t make up a large part of their future music.
‘Gravitron’ is a stand out track that deserves to be a single, from its danceable opening through its bittersweet, honest lyrics to a crescendo that demands to be heard. The lyrics are nothing new for the band, but laying them over the top of such an upbeat instrumental lends a whole other dimension to them.
Stepping out of their previous mould has revealed a more experimental Au Revoir Simone, who have cleverly blended sounds from straight pop to afrobeat—via ambient and dance. That this doesn’t stop MIS from feeling like a fully realised and flowing album in its own right is a sign that there are still better things to come from the band.
To begin with, MIS doesn’t seem like the kind of album that’s right for an early autumn release, but after the first listen, a melancholy edge creeps into some of the songs that previously sounded like nothing more than jubilant, dance-y electropop. It’s an album worthy of a second glance, and if you’re willing to spend the time, a third.