AU57: Phoenix album review

June 1, 2009

Phoenix album


The cartoon sleeve promises the dropping of brightly coloured bombs, and oh look, Phoenix have done just that. Such is their mastery of the guitar-pop nugget, it’s a wonder that the Parisians aren’t all over the radio, but maybe they are just too stylish – or arch – for that. This time round, they pick up where It’s Never Been Like That’s Strokes-frolicking-in-a-French-meadow sound left off, and incorporate a few more of the electronic textures that they started out with on 2000’s United. And yet again, they’ve come up with a freshly squeezed summer record.

As ever, Thomas Mars’s deadpan vocals have a touch of melancholy floating just under the surface, but the hooks and pinpoint melodies come thick and fast, particularly on the opening trio of ‘Lisztomania’, ‘1901’ and ‘Fences’. The two-part ‘Love Like A Sunset’ is this album’s equivalent of INBLT’s ‘North’ – a lovely, woozy Krautrock confection – but elsewhere it’s energy, ideas and effortless cool all the way. This will soundtrack plenty of summers.

8/10 (I’ve amended this review slightly and upped it by a point since it was published. Hey, hindsight and heavy rotation are fine things)


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