Au Revoir Simone are Sirens. With innocently enchanting synthpop, the three Brooklyn gals can take you by surprise so that you’ll keep listening just to make sure they’re real. Their second album, The Bird of Music, features their fluffy electronica and meek rhythms in deceptive simplicity that’s as hard to resist paying attention to as a child’s laughter.
While this album is more robust and detailed, the group still projects an image of delicacy that not only unique, but seemingly innate. Only three ladies that look so similar and share such a distinct ability to produce angelic pop could create an album this charmingly gentle.
As opposed to their first album, Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation, this record has a density that they just didn’t have the experience then to achieve. More lush, multi-layered synths and thorough harmonies are the hallmark of The Bird of Music. “Fallen Snow” starts off with an echoed organ that bumps along to a head-bobbing beat and eventually airy vocals & xylophone – a more mature sound than anything on the first album. Similarly, “A Violent Yet Flammable World” employs a slow 60’s-pop ballad drum beat with a wavy synth at first that gives into a somber, velvety melody on top of a pattering drum. “Stars” has a variety of electronic bits that make it one of the more intriguing songs on the album. The more elements they employ, the better they sound.
Still, the most obvious ingredient of the album is their bedroom vocals. As on their first album, they’re just slightly off-key and wispy enough that they’ve surely sung like this since they were young. Each girl contributes to uneffected and virginal entity that represent the girl next door as well as anyone. “Dark Halls” is a poppy track that features vocals much like a teenager telling a story would sound like. There’s a specific staccato, as in “Sad Song”, that projects a level of shyness and reluctance to sustain a note. They’re not afraid, however, to expose it, and less professional-sounding they are, the more listenable they are.
In the end, like its title, The Bird of Music‘s image is somewhat confusing. Is it to be listened to as light-heartedly as the fragile instrumentation and frail vocals suggest, or are the lyrics deep enough and does the simplicity command introspection in a roundabout way? What kind of bird is The Bird of Music? A hummingbird? Dove? Falcon? It can be dangerously luring, though, as any ardent rock fan might listen to a bit of it and become curious as to how such seemingly novice-sounding album could grab their attention, and unsettle their perspective on what’s too delicate to enjoy. In that way, this album is cute, sweet, but dense – like a cookie that no one can resist a bite of.