Originally published and still available on The Girls Are (27/08/14).
Au Revoir Simone, Spectrums, Moshi Moshi
When it comes to remixes, they are often unnecessary, unwarranted and comprised of juvenile incarnations that pale in comparison to the original. Undeterred by this, Au Revoir Simone are no stranger to the remix album. Previous full scale re-imaginings of their work include 2008′s Reverse Migration (reworkings of 2007′s The Bird of Music) and 2010′s Night Light (reinterpretations of 2009′s Still Night, Still Light), and whilst the trio’s fourth album Move In Spectrums was a lushly understated and simultaneously nostalgic and contemporary effort, in listening to Spectrums it is immediately apparent that its fraternal twin is by far a more exotic beast.
Despite being bolder than their previous work, elements in Move In Spectrums which hold back are pushed forward in Spectrums. The bass notes are deeper, the drum machine whacks and the synths manoeuvre between sophisticated electronica and ultra-pop. The voices of Erica Foster, Annie Hart and Heather D’Angelo alternate between whispering desires and uttering brisk rebukes, drifting through the darkness of the discotheque like concealed liaisons with a high school crush.
Produced for social gatherings and shindigs, Spectrums manages to scope a surprising amount of diversity in its offerings. The first half of the album runs parallel to the running order of the original work, which provides a side by side comparison of each track. Songs such as the sweltering pop nugget Just Like A Tree are practically unrecognizable with Tyde‘s remix eschewing much of the vocal and amping up the bass to create an enjoyable, throbbing club number. Kiwi‘s rendition of Boiling Point travels a similar route as the track builds into an exquisite climax, whilst Passarella Death Squad‘s version of More Than and the Babe remix of Lead Is Gathering offer more subtle and experimental interpretations of their counterparts.
The retro infused and funky pop number Somebody Who is the album’s main victory. This gem has been given an EP’s worth of eclectic versions which include the scuzzy and theatrical The Shoes and San Zhi effort and Machines In Heaven‘s lucid and pulsating remix, whilst Dubka‘s interpretation channels an echoed dance backing. The cherry on this colourful cake however is NZCA Lines addictive remix of Somebody Who; a leisurely slice of pure disco funk that jolts new life into the song.
Now onto their third remix album, Au Revoir Simone continue to invite others to take their songs for a spin. These renditions are fun, sprightly and intriguing, and as a body of work, Spectrums does not take itself too seriously, and as such, neither should we.