Kindred spirits: OMD, Eurythmics, M83, Frankie Rose
Show: With Selebrities on Tuesday at
U Street Music Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. 202-588-1880. www.ustreetmusichall.com. $20.
“Move in Spectrums” is Au Revoir Simone’s first album since 2009. Four years is an eternity in indie music; bands that take that long between releases risk losing a significant part of their fan base. But if you can sing — really sing — and harmonize as Au Revoir Simone can, you should always have an audience.
This album is the Brooklyn trio’s best to date. There’s nothing complex about the arrangement on the surface — three women with great voices, three synthesizers and one drum machine. And because vocals are the focus, it’s dream-pop more than synth-pop. The synthesizers don’t fall over each other in a giant wash of electronica, despite the often uptempo rhythm. Instead, they have space, filling the songs with much more emotion than you’d expect from a band playing nothing but synthesizers.
Album opener “More Than” begins with a dark synth riff and a restrained vocal, but don’t let this fool you. The song eventually moves into familiar territory: synth rhythms punctuated by a steady beat and vibrant vocal harmonies. This is where the band shines. The arrangement, though, belies the melancholy and, at times, dark lyrics. “Just Like a Tree,” for example, features peppy ’80s synth-pop riffs over the repeated line “Stay away from me.”
That lyric also illustrates Au Revoir Simone’s talent for strong vocal hooks. It’s especially true on the song “Crazy,” where even such wistful lyrics as “You knew me, wanna love to lose and to lose again / Seems like we’re either giving up or giving in” make you want to sing along.