Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

phoenix

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Phoenix is a Frecnh pop group.  That being said, it seems more likely that their success lies in the United States, far away from their homeland.  Their third album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, is sure to tie the band into your consciousness for the duration of the upcoming months, if not for the rest of the year.

The best one-two punch of the year comes via the band’s first two opening tracks, “Lisztomania” and “1901.” “Lisztomania” has a stomping affect that likely entails itself to handclap moments amongst your friends as you dance in the living room.  That is until the keyboard comes in for the chorus, and the impending crescendo have you all flailing your arms about.  “1901” is just one of the most solid tracks to come around in a long time.  Finding a beat this good is hard to do, and they combine it all with the catchiness of the chorus as singer Thomas Mars shouts “fallen” over and over again.  You won’t find two tracks back to back that sound this good on another record this year.

But then the band step it back a bit, so as not to blow you away too quickly.  They toy with a little bit of sensuality in “Fences and the lengthy slow-jam “Love Like a Sunset,” which quite possibly gets a bit over indulgent.  Still, at this point, the band seem to just want to show their range, demonstrating to us all that they are more than just a one-dimensional band of singles and such.

And then we’re right back into it.  Slow jams are gone, and the pace returns with “Lasso.” This song, like those before it and those after it exemplifies everything in which the group succeeds; their songs build and build, seemingly increasing the pace as the song, along with Mars’ vocals, races to the end.  It’s as if their formulaic songwriting allows the band to push for the optimal amount of punch and pop sensibility.  Even when they find themselves in the middle-ground, such as on “Girlfriend” you can still see the skeletal remains of their capabilities.

While some may wish that the band could go beyond their normal stylings and push for even more in the dance-pop spectrum, such as their massive single “1901,” it’s still nice to see the band sticking to what they do best. Although they’ve yet to write a complete album where every song is perfect, this is the closest that they’ve come; Phoenix continues to write great songs and progress as they move forward.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/05-lasso.mp3]

Download: Phoenix – Lasso [MP3]

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