Simian Ghost was initially a one-man band. That one man was Sebastien Arnström who released an album called Infinite Traffic Everywhere a couple of years ago to critical acclaim in his native Sweden. Then Simian Ghost became an alt-pop three piece after Sebastien recruited Erik Klinga and Mathias Zachrisson. The trio released an album earlier this year called Youth from which Automation is the third and final single to be culled. Where Infinite Traffic Everywhere was an accomplished debut it was still audibly a solo DIY project, albeit more polished than most. The addition of a full band on Youth makes Arnström’s indie-pop shimmer in a way that Automation highlights.
I’ll just say ‘chillwave’ now and get it out of the way with nice and early. It’s definitely an aspect of the Simian Ghost sound and it’s found in Automation’s chilled, androgynous vocals. The whole tune sounds like it’s been specifically written for being played over a montage of things you get up to on a sunny day in early August; the upbeat bass rhythm threads the twinkling xylophone and verging-on-urgent-but-never-quite-getting-there guitar together to create a lovely sunbeam of a track. My only problem with Automation is that there’s a wonderful juxtaposition of the sweet sounding tune and the slightly bittersweet lyrics about “nights that can break your heart”, yet it’s over so fast and it never really takes off in a way that makes it memorable. It’s fleeting and I feel like it should be lasting, but then that’s a perfect description of a summer romance and that’s exactly what Automation is about. So just enjoy its nostalgia-pop yearnings for days gone by wrapped in exquisitely crafted Scandinavian twee.
Automation by Simian Ghost is available now via Heist or Hit Records.