In 2007, the three-woman keyboard trio Au Revoir Simone (Heather D’Angelo, Erika Foster, and Annie Hart – QRO interview with Hart) got a lot of attention for their sophomore full-length, The Bird of Music (QRO review), but it always looked a bit questionable as to how much such a seemingly limited act could do with just their voices & keys, no matter how fine they are. But now, the Brooklyn-not-France group answer by taking a major step forward on follow-up Still Night, Still Light, building upon the best moments of Bird, introducing a few more instruments, but never wavering from their siren indietronica.
It should be another step forward, as Bird of Music was itself an advance upon 2005’s Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation. But Au Revoir Simone took your favorite songs from Bird, like “Sad Song”, as their starting point, embracing both press and catch, while not losing their core sound. Married to their beautiful voices, it creates high beauty but also down-to-earth charm on such Still Night standouts as “All Or Nothing”, “Trace a Line”, and “Anywhere You Looked”. And they can still vary, such as between the sad “Trace” and poppy “Anywhere”.
Unfortunately, not every song can be a standout, and there are some relatively boring, repetitive filler pieces on Still Night, such as “Knight of Wands”, “Organized Scenery”, and “We Are Here”. And sometimes the trio is less ambitious, sticking with simple-but-sweet melodies like opener “Another Likely Story”, or closer “Tell Me”. But that can work very well as well, as seen on the cute & charming little “Take Me As I Am”. Also, at times, the band throws a little more into the mix, like D’Angelo’s new cymbal, or Foster playing a bass guitar on rhythm-strong “Shadows”.
The restraint Au Revoir Simone show, from not moving too far from their ‘sirentronica’, is understandable. Few artists are doing exactly what these three girls are. But Still Night, Still Light shows they’ve got the skills to do even more.