Rating: 7 / Format: CD/LP / Label: Moshi Moshi
As a rule, if the first thing you think upon hearing the opening track of a record, is ‘am I listening to a mobile phone ad?’ then it’s probably best to a) stop listening and b) sell your TV. In the case of Still Night, Still Light however, I don’t have the luxury of being able to do either; I have to review said record and the TV belongs to my mother.
Which is just as well, because beyond the fairytale euthanasia of the album’s opener, this is a record that expands on the lo-fi charm that first brought Au Revoir Simone to the world’s attention back in 2007. Still Night, Still Light is in fact the Brooklyn-based trio’s third album, and where its predecessors occasionally ventured too far into the realm of the just plain nice, Still Night is tainted with an unsettling, Casio keyboard-fuelled oddness, in the vein of Darkstar or Animal Collective.
It takes a while to get going though. ‘Shadows’ is the obvious choice for a first single, picking up the pace nicely in a surging groove of uneasy arpeggios and twitchy drums. ‘Knight Of The Wands’, with its infectious rhythms and double claps, sounds like MGMT on a budget. But the album’s highlight is undoubtedly ‘Only You Can Make Me Happy’; a single-sentence hook loops sparingly over a rich backdrop of cascading synthesis and voice that rises, falls, rises and then vanishes – by this point I’m thoroughly captivated. ‘Anywhere You Looked’ will surely reappear as a single; its nifty, foot tapping beat accompanies the record’s most anthemic moment through an epic breakdown, that would have even the most reserved beatnik reaching for the lasers (not that there’d be any). And, as the hypnotic ebb of ‘Tell Me’ tails off in a wash of white noise, I’ve all but forgotten my talk of phone ads and mother’s TV.