Here’s the thing. Au Revoir Simone has the potential to be written off as total manufactured hipster bullshit. They are three girls, who look like they just stepped out of the Urban Outfitters catalog, singing softly and coaxing gentle melodies out of a pile of synthesizers and Casios. Their name manages to be both kitschy (for being a “Pee-Wee’s Great Adventure” reference) and pretentious (for being French). And to top it all off, they’re from Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Otherwise known as “Fucking-Hipster-Williamsburg”).

So this being my first encounter with the band, I had some reservations when I started listening to “Still Night Still Light,” but I was genuinely weirded out when Au Revoir Simone seemed to anticipate my scoffing and then immediately throw it back in my face, giving me a harsh reprimand with the album’s opening lyrics, “Don’t tell me it’s another likely story.” It took them about seven seconds after that to utterly destroy what remained of my flimsy defenses.

It would be easy to credit my pushover conversion entirely to my pathetically impotent willpower (not a stretch), but I think the tenacity of the band’s songcraft is the real culprit here. Far from a flavor of the week creation, Au Revoir Simone (Annie hart, Erika Foster and Heather D’Angelo) have been been developing their sound since 2003. This is their third release on their own label, Our Secret Record Company, but the band really begun to take off in the last year or so.

Songs on this record revolve around carefully layered synths and vocals that derive their emotive impact from their detached, wounded indifference. Now, this description might seem indicative of a band somewhere between Sterolab and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone with three vaginas, but there are a couple of caveats to that: There’s some super-cute all girl harmonizing here, and the pop hooks have the immediately accessibility of Bubblicious Gum.

The frantic “Anywhere You Looked” is the catchiest example; it’s the kind of song that convinces you (against all reason) that you should sing along every time you hear it, even though you never can quite keep up with the tempo, and you inevitably just look like a fat tool (kind of like that Third Eye Blind song).

When the girls settle down and get contemplative, as on “Trace a Line,” they are “getting drunk in taxi cabs and writing names on backs of hands” or deciding to “let our plants die” in “Organized Scenery.” This kind of literal imagery can be powerful, especially in conjunction with the resigned, intimate delivery.

Irresistible is not too strong a word for Au Revoir Simone. Just try not to fall in love when they almost whisper in your ear, “I’m the one you won’t regret,” on the gossamer “The Last One.” Don’t judge them by their cute frocks, they’re for real.

Jesse Bo Widmark is a KCPR DJ and a Mustang Daily music columnist.

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