Erika Spring - Erika Spring [EP]
It’s fair to say that in the world of synth-driven dream pop, Au Revoir Simone are a force to be reckoned with. Next week, however, the tight-knit trio will temporarily become a duo as front woman Erika Spring (née Forster) enters the congested world of solo side projects with the release of her eponymous debut EP.
Having been part of ARS for almost ten years, one thing that is obvious throughout the five-track EP is Spring’s extensive knowledge of her synthesizers. The resultant dazzling array of tones and timbres, as heard in 'Like a Fire,' allows her to overcrowd the track to perfection and create a bustling backdrop that is ideal for her crystalized vocals. This welcome contrast between her musical and vocal inputs is, in my opinion, one of the highlights of her short debut and is evident again in the unashamedly '80s- inspired personal favorite 'When Tomorrow Comes.'
In the world of solo projects, a golden rule of thumb is to avoid sounding too similar to the group from which you’ve momentarily departed. This important memo obviously reached Spring and throughout the EP, the dissociation between her solo efforts and those of ARS increases both in style and size. Opener 'Happy at the Gate' sees Spring turn her back on her lo-fi roots as she blasts out the chorus in a Goldfrappian manner whilst trading in her usual distorted keys for those of a clean-cut and carbonated nature. The following track, 'Hidden', complies with this school of thought, but this time utilizes rapturous drums to add a dimension to Spring’s sound that is rarely heard in the music of ARS.
With all that said, whilst Spring is to be commended for creating a sound that is totally unique to her solo efforts, the EP, when viewed without regard to her prior musical endeavors, fails to impress. It never really goes further than being what it is: a collection of pleasurable, but on the whole mediocre, songs--songs that would eventually become submerged and consigned to oblivion in the vast lady-synth ocean.