(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

United (2000), 5/10
Alphabetical (2004), 4.5/10
It's Never Been Like That (2006), 5/10
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), 6/10

Phoenix is a pop quartet from Paris specializing in danceable catchy tunes. Too Young and especially If I Ever Feel Better are the gems from United (Source, 2000).

Alphabetical (Source, 2004) is slightly more challenging (as much as pop muzak can be). Everything Is Everything is the lead track.

It's Never Been Like That (2006) veered from the dance club to the garage party, but mostly the results sit in the middle: charming background muzak but mostly dejavu. If the lame power-pop of Napoleon Says and Long Distance Call doesn't go anywhere, the jovial and bouncy vignette of Consolation Prizes and especially the catchy bubblegum ditty Rally are at least entertaining. The vocalist towers over the instruments with his gentle, colloquial delivery. Courtesy Laughs and One Time Too Many sound like prosaic versions of Lou Reed meditations. Of all these lukewarm and verbose shuffles with a Velvet Underground-ian rhythm, Sometimes In The Fall is the one that rises above the average.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note, 2009) was a creative pop album. Tunes such as Lisztomania (whose main attraction is a danceable charleston-like beat), Girlfriend and 1901 (syncopated beat and neurotic guitar patterns) represented state-of-the-art melodic rock, while for the first time they also showed some ambition: the seven-minute Love Like A Sunset Part I, that morphs from instrumental chamber rock into an ecstatic psychedelic hymn. Rhythmic experiments popped up throughout the album, notably in Countdown. The soulful and detached Rome is reminiscent of early Talking Heads. The mood of several songs was existential, creating an odd contrast between jovial refrains and somewhat gloomy lyrics.

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(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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