It was late night on a notable television channel that only comes alive in those forbidden hours, and three alternative beauties stalked the woods to music-box tunes like your unlikeliest dream. Any moment they could have been eaten by bears, but they didn’t seem to care.
Coming together in 2003 when a chance train journey across America revealed the joint keyboard dreams of three complete strangers, Simone spent a number of years honing sounds and melodies in cramped New York apartments before packing their intricate sounds in suitcases and venturing outdoors. The danger would have been the whole quest blowing over like so many feathers, but the murky bars of New York were fittingly conquered.
Lead Simone member Erika harbours a deep passion for the sounds of German electronic music, citing such “indietronic” luminaries as Lali Puna, Ms. John Soda and Guther as influences alongside the more homely delights of Belle and Sebastian, The Mountain Goats, Pavement and Broadcast. Evidently it’s a mixture that takes some distilling, but over two albums the Au Revoir Simone ouvre stands as more than just immaculate, shimmering as it does with the soul of the most epic combination of disparate beauty.
Tracks like recent single Fallen Snow and opener The Lucky One are delicious cuts that warm from the bottom up into blazing fires of electronic pop, Erika’s easy vocals nudging them to poetic heights, while the trio of Dark Halls, Night Majestic and Stars emerge out of sockets as pristine odes to melody and wonder. But it’s the downbeat tracks which are maybe overshadowed by such shimmering splendour that show Erika in her best lyrical light.
Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation was the name of their first LP, and Erika’s lines are often soothing blankets of unabashed femininity and sentimental wisdom. Lurking among the stunningly downbeat, spectral electronics of I Couldn’t Sleep and Don’t See the Sorrow you’ll find observations on life and relationships that warm the soul with humble grace.
Simone have a unique knack of merging homely wonder with cutting edge beauty, and The Bird of Youth is a tremendous, soulful concoction in any musical language.