The pop band that teeter on the edge of getting it completely wrong. Having discussed Phoenix with various comrades over the last month, it was eventually agreed the French band perfect the right mix of pop and indie to avoid overkill on either genre.
This Friday May 22nd sees Phoenix release their 4th studio album,Wolfgang Amadeus. In short it's faultless pop, speckled wonderfully with indie rock. The opening track and first official single from the album, Liztomania, is purely anthemic and reminds me of how The Strokes classic Last Night tore up many a dance floor when it was first released. This is swiftly followed by 1901, a track the band released as a free download on their website back in February, which is also cleverly paced and well delivered indie pop.
Love Like a Sunset takes a break from the hi velocity that kicks off the album and this creates a variety of soundscapes from funk to atmospheric shoe gaze which allow it to elevate subtly with perfect mixing from Philippe Zdar who also mixed the bands debut United.
Zdar's influence is pretty obvious through out, with louder beats and a smooth transition between tracks enabling the album to fuse faultlessly. It's pretty hard to pick a favourite song on this record as it's quite excellent as a whole, but the stand out for me has to be Fences. Thomas Mars' vocal and the arrangement of the track as a whole brings it back to the quality and verve of previous Phoenix releases reminding me, without much prompting just how great a band they are.
So is Wolfgang Amadeus the album to finally break through to the oblivious musos of the world? Well I would like to think so. With the year that's in it, for albums in 2009 it is certainly up there for me and when I eventually wrench it from the stereo I will gladly let you know if that opinion still stands. Expect to see it on many an end of year album list.