Fortunately, Move In Spectrums is strong enough to ensure that Au Revoir Simone won’t be cast aside amid the throng of bands who now occupy their territory. Perhaps the record’s strongest suit is the lushness of its production: having three keyboardists in one’s band might seem like overkill, but it pays off here – Move In Spectrums is a clockwork jewellery box of glimmering, whirring and purring synths.
The songs are pretty good, too. More Than, with its gradually building tempo and genuine sense of drama, is the perfect curtain-raiser. Crazy is a joyous pop song that shares the same careering spirit as Phoenix’s Second To None. Graviton and the Chairlift-esque Somebody Who carry a sexy swagger that we’ve not really heard from the previously demure Au Revoir Simone.
Move In Spectrums is a very good record but it’s not a great one. The reason for this is quite simple: the album is lacking the one absolute killer track that would elevate the album to a higher status. As it is, Move In Spectrums stands at the precipice of brilliance. Perhaps if Au Revoir Simone were to build on their re-discovered momentum and not leave such a long gap before their next release, they might make it there next time. For now, though, Move In Spectrums will do nicely.
The band, whose dreamy pop calmly ushers in snapshot images of desolation and tranquility through super-cool synth pop melodies, strike as a group of individuals who are highly unlikely to run for a bus during the morning commute. Instead, 'Move in Spectrums' is a deeply controlled sea of melancholic ambience, loaded front-heavy with infinitely more engaging moments than its murkier second half.
Single ‘Crazy’ is laden with pop hooks and a reminder that they can do catchy shimmering new wave when they choose to. ‘The Lead is Galloping’ carries on in this vein, 80s electro filtered through Au Revoir Simone’s trademark sense of nonchalance and steely brand of coolness. The predominantly instrumental ‘We Both Know’ is beautifully meditative. Its chiming guitars drifting in and out of earshot is the musical equivalent of standing on the shoreline and watching the tide gently come in.
Yet it also heralds the start of a change in the album. If ‘We Both Know’ was like watching the tide, by the time the penultimate track ‘Hand over Hand’ comes around, it’s a gradual confirmation that water has most definitely seeped inside your shoes while realising that it’s a long, lonely walk back home. The main issue is the serious shortage of drama in the latter half, which is too indulgent in its synth soundscapes and not generous enough when it comes to melody or heart to be able to support the clinical structures created by the band.
‘Just like a Tree’, with its woozy vocals and silky smooth synths makes it too easy to let it pass by, and whilst the band do a fab job of circumnavigating the various musical shades of grey, there is also such a thing as overkill. Final song ‘Let the Night Win’ is too washed out that there is little musical traction to make anyone bar die-hard fans to go back to the start.