Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Au Revoir Simone, these three beautiful New York women, has a way of making everything sound so figured out, but still riddle-some and of the utmost confounding characteristics we could ever drum up. The drum machine, keyboarded and pastorally honeyed band has a calming way of making every philosophical boulder, every mountain of a conundrum, into a grain or a pebble. The way that they work lyrically is to look at their lives and their problems and find ways to assign them to much greater and grander powers. They give these obstructions and roiling complications reverence for their personal relationships with bigger, untouchable ideas or beings. We aren't hearing any kind of religious talk, but there is an undercurrent of sensation throughout the group's latest album, "Still Night, Still Light," that would suggest that the characters in these songs are being affected by so many matters and hands that can't be changed. There's a strong sense of destiny in all of these songs, not necessarily suggesting that there should be a passive reaction to everything that happens to a given person, but that maybe the ride's been planned out this way for a reason and we'll come to the same conclusions either way. Erika Forster, Annie Hart and Heather D.Angelo sing on "Shadows," "You know it will be alright, alright, alright/You know it's alright/I'm moving on/I hope you're coming with me/Cause I'm not strong without you/Don't blame it on your shadows/Cause I know all about you," suggesting the inevitability of everything eventually working out by the time our bodies start to fail on us and we're reflecting on a life well-lived. Even if the bigger picture isn't that long in scope for Au Revoir Simone (it could just be getting to the next day and seeing sunnier skies), there's that feeling that the waves just need to be ridden out and that the surf would call down to a point where the water splashing against the rocks is just a sound that we're fond of falling asleep to, instead of fretting over its possible capacity for damage. The more you listen to the songs on "Still Night, Still Light," though, there's a feeling that they mean these moments in the long run, as if that's when all will be settled and just, when one can just take in a contented sip and see before you that everything's flush with golden beauty. In a wonderful way, "Take Me As I Am," is a tale of helplessness, a suggestion that we should just roll with the punches and find love or companionship in another if the initial reaction is to do so. It's a suggestion that over-thinking anything will only makes it harder for any difficulties that will arise are beyond control. They sing, "Do you know when you were born, you were already you and I already me/So take me as I am/I know it's easier said than done." They think in simplicity, through the lens of mind-breaking abstraction, giving ungodly weight to words that mean everything and nothing, all at once, but in this way, turning them into thoughts that have meaning. Their harmonies and the breezy chords of their songs are wound up with phrases such as, "Everywhere is somewhere, baby," and we nod - we get that. They make us believe in these sweeping ideas as if they've suddenly come to us, all at once, in the throes of "tumbling through another summer," sticky with the heated air and each other.