Au Revoir Simone
Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation
Record Review by Daniel Brody
Au Revoir Simone are three girls who all play keyboards and harmonize dolefully. Named after a throwaway quote from the title character in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, they pout about the sort of heartbreak that happens under adult supervision. It’s all very twee and innocent, and might get old really fast, except that the band seems to have an endless arsenal of tone choices in their synthesizers, all of them equally soft and cuddly. Verses of Comfort, Assurance, and Salvation is a fairly accurate summation of what the band accomplishes; this is an album to curl up with on a cloudy day with some chamomile tea.
Things get off to a melancholy start with “Through the Backyards,” a half-remembered reverie of kissyface and pretty night skies. It sets a pattern, by which Au Revoir Simone has any number of romantic adventures that may or may not have happened, that may be looked back on fondly or mournfully. Every moment stolen underneath a cherry tree already seems to predict eventual grief and loss. “Where You Go,” chants the line “Where you go is where I want to be,” in two different mood colors, the first jaunty and hopeful, all bouncy pianos and zippy moog sounds. But by the song’s close, the synths freeze to icy temperatures, and the lyric turns into a question of betrayal: “Don’t you know where you go is where I want to be?” It is as naïve as any childlike question Brian Wilson ever asked, but where Wilson eventually couldn’t handle the bitter adult answers to those queries and went crazy, Au Revoir Simone anticipate being let down, and try to sugarcoat their misery with as many fuzzy keyboard riffs as possible.
Try as Au Revoir Simone might to etherize sadness, Verses still comes off as one of the mopiest recordings you’ll hear all year. Don’t get your hopes up about that special someone, press play, and burrow into this album as you would snuggle between blankets and pillows.
More by this writer:
Starlight Mints - Drowaton
Caroline - Murmurs
Tunng - Mother's Daughter and Other Songs
Roy - Roy Killed John Train