One of the things I like about Au Revoir Simone, beyond the obvious reasons you like any band or artist, is that they don't try to be anything they're not. There's no attempt to compete with the Ladyhawkes, Little Boots, or even Lykke Li's of the world. Not that they don't like that sort of more overt dance music — I'm pretty sure they do in general — or that they would be bad at it if they tried (see the remix of Friendly Fire's "Paris" which is better than the original). It's just not what they do.
While Erika, Annie and Heather all play keyboards and there are drum machines, you never feel like Au Revoir Simone are electronic. It's more of a pastoral, minimal, organic, dreamy. And live. They play pretty much everything live when you go see them, which becomes apparent when there's a goof, and that's so much more interesting that seeing someone peer at their laptop, wondering whether they're actually doing something or checking Facebook.
There were a couple goofs (nothing major) at Monday's show at Union Hall, but the crowd was mostly friends from the neighborhood, and the girls (and the audience) laughed it off with much charm. It was more a party than the launching of a World Tour. Which it kind of was. Au Revoir Simone are now in Europe, starting a three-month, multi-continent exursion to which Union Pool was a warm up. So the set was mostly songs from their new album, Still Night, Still Light, which comes out next month.
Fine , I think it's their best yet. Despite being produced by Thom Monahan, who specializes in neo folikes like Vetiver and Devendra Banhart, the record is mandolin and banjo-free. If anything, it's more stripped-down than either of their two previous releases, and maybe that's why it works so well live. The album's best songs were the night's highlights too, especially first single "Shadows" and set-closer "Knight of Wands," which I couldn't resist joining in on the "clap clap" in the intro. Annie Hart tossed promo copies into the audience in between songs, nearly taking out an eye or two, but mild lacerations seem a small price to pay for getting an early listen.
SETLIST: All or Nothing | Sad Song | Another Likely Story | Shadows | Anwhere You Looked | Take Me As I Am | Trace a Line | Lark | Tell Me | Knight of Wands
MP3: Au Revoir Simone – Knight of Wands
You can pre-order Still Night, Still Light from Au Revoir Simone's website — including what looks to be a pretty sweet 10" double vinyl version. I shot video of "Shadows" at the show, which is after the jump, along with all posted tour dates.