Phoenix?s lastest: the contemporary Wolfgang

Photo credit: Natalie Kardos

By Nicholas Plowman

The versatile, Grammy Award winning Versailles pop-rockers known as Phoenix have been meshing
indie rock sensibilities and synth-driven hooks into infectious
slices
of pop romanticism with ease for years. As hinted at with previous
albums United,
Alphabetical
and It’s Never Been Like That, Phoenix finally manage to find a
bridge
between mainstream pop-rock efficiency and their conceptual depth on
their latest album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

It stands as a testament to Phoenix’s ability to blend their earned
maturity as a band with twinkling, party-starting instrumentals that
their music comes across as nothing less than universal. Consider
Phoenix as a band that has come of age and, now, they’re questioning
their place in society. Thematically, Phoenix remain?? as direct as
ever, tackling the angst of young adulthood in a lean, 10-track album
that clocks in at the 37 minute mark.

1901, the first single off the LP, was one of a handful of
utterly inescapable indie tracks in 2009 (along with Animal Collective’s My Girls, Dirty Projectors’ Stillness is the Move and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Zero to name but a few). The
frustration-infused single wastes no time tumbling into a tunnel of
ferocious yet unsure statements and whimsical one-liners hinged on
fleeting nature of modern day romance. No other single last year has
captured the notion of romantic uncertainty in such an exhilarating
light quite as Phoenix have here, straddling the line between their
signatory brand of effortless cool and demented urgency with such
efficiency – imperfect perfection.

1901 music video:

Other highlights include the snappy album opener Lisztomania,
which immediately underpins the thematic focus of the album with
the cryptic line ?So sentimental; not sentimental, no!? and
the epic two-part, almost-entirely instrumental Love Like a Sunset. However, picking highlights on an album filled to
the
brim with bursting ruminations on love is a fruitless exercise.
Effectively, Wolfgang Amaedus Phoenixis an LP comprised of
nothing but love songs but packaged in such a way that the untrained
listener would never assume as much.

?It?s not a miracle we needed/ No, I wouldn?t let you think
so? is a line in 1901 singled out by more than a few
critical minds in commenting on Phoenix?s comeback of a single.??
1901 isn?t a comeback, nor is Wolfgang Amadeus
Phoenix
. If nothing else, it signals their discovery of a new
way
to package more or less the same ideas present in their previous
works
in such a manner that forces people to listen up and take notice.
Despite its pop-focus, one wouldn’t dare call Wolfgang Amadeus
Phoenix
a guilty pleasure; it earns every second of its constant
pleasurability. It?s not a miracle; it?s the fundamental
principle
of pop music and Phoenix have more than proved that in 2009, they did
it best.

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