Au Revoir Simone

Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation

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Singer and keyboardist Erika Forster left the dream pop outfit Dirty on Purpose after their debut album to concentrate on her own project, but that loss is twee indie pop's gain. Not since the sole album by Dusty Trails, the one-off collaboration between Josephine Wiggs of the Breeders and Vivian Trimble of Luscious Jackson, has an album blended minimalist synthesizers and cinematic minor-key melodies with only the very slightest of Stereolab influences. Indeed, the closest comparison for tunes like the simply lovely opener, "Through the Backyards," is a synth-oriented version of Yo La Tengo circa And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out -- a similarly placid feel with hushed, delicate vocals floating over a bed of gently murmuring keyboards. The more uptempo tunes, like "The Disco Song," have a playful feel with a hint of '80s pastiche. But dreamy tunes like the haunting "Back in Time" are where Au Revoir Simone shine: blending contrapuntal vocal lines and a hypnotic beatbox drone out of the Young Marble Giants playbook, the song develops an epic quality out of the simplest of instruments. The instrumental "The Winter Song" is even more effective, blending music box synth lines and toy xylophone plinking with a subtly propulsive rhythm that transforms the song from a minor exercise to a fully formed pop song. The only flaw of the outstanding Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation is that at eight songs in 27 and a half minutes, it's too short.

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