...If you’re a fan of wistful Stereolab-like pop then do please step forth.
Harry Holgate 2007
The Bird Of Music is the second album from Au Revoir Simone, following up from 2005’s Verses Of Comfort And Assurance. They’re three girls from Brooklyn: Erika Forster, Annie Hart and Heather D'Angelo, who take to the studio with a synthesizer each and D’Angelo’s drum machine for accompaniment. This makes more sense than you might think as, by their very nature, synths can provide almost any sound you could possibly wish for and the drum machine complements the 80s feel conjured by the girls’ Rolands.
Using this simple set-up, combined with a trio of lilting voices which land somewhere between Beth Orton and Isobel Campbell, they trade in bright ethereal synth-pop. Homespun drumbeats provide a base for the three keyboards to build upon. And build they do; with a vengeance. The more you listen to this album the more sounds you can hear. From their most simple and effective in the album’s opening track, ''The Lucky One'', where a heartbeat drumbeat is overlaid with tambourines and hammond organ-esque piano, through the rich textured fatness of ''I Couldn’t Sleep'', to the pure joyous pop of ''Night Majestic'', The Bird Of Music yields more with every listen.
Influences are worn not quite on the sleeve but you can detect a little Belle & Sebastian in there, a little New Order, a little Kenickie and even a little We Are Scientists (some of their energy and wordplay may have transferred when the two bands toured together in 2006).
It’s got electro, it’s got a waltz beat in there (the single ''Fallen Snow''), and they carry you along in a drifting dance of melody and soft shades of harmony. If you’re easily put off by Casiotone, ethereal wanderings then don’t worry yourself, but if you’re a fan of wistful Stereolab-like pop then do please step forth.