There was always a certain icy quality to the music of Au Revoir Simone, despite all the bits that harked back to the days of French ye-ye pop on their early tracks. Gradually, the music of the band morphed into something unique that occupied a place near to the material of Saint Etienne and even more ambient-oriented bands like Bel Canto. Furthering that vibe, the lead singer, Annie Hart, has decided to release a solo record. Called Impossible Accomplice, the record drops tomorrow and it's a thing that needs to be praised.
Opener "I Don't Want Your Love" pops and percolates like Nineties electro-pop (in a good way), while "Run To You" slows things down and offers a cut that's every bit as catchy as something by Lady Gaga even if it sounds like it owes a huge debt to the earlier work of Annie Clark. Elsewhere, "Hard To Be Still" rides a bright, Ladytron-like sheen to pop success, while the sinister-sounding "Breathing Underwater" purrs like the darker numbers on a Nineties Depeche Mode record, or even a Cabaret Voltaire one if that band had tried to be a bit accessible. Still, for all the trappings here that recall the electronic music pioneers of alternative rock years past, there are some that are all Annie's, like the stunningly-beautiful "I've Been Seeing You In My Dreams", all stark and serene song-craft.
During the best portions of Impossible Accomplice, a listener can realize how much Annie Hart has stood on her own here, even if this record should also please fans of Au Revoir Simone. This is a lovely record, and one that deserves a lot of attention as one of this week's new releases.
[Photo: Sebastian Kim]