Retail Release Date: May 25, 2009
Leaky Faucet Acquisition Date: March 11, 2009
Phoenix is a French pop band that plays music that can only be described as Britpop. What does French Britpop sound like? It sounds like the band Phoenix. Perhaps I should explain.
Their last album was not a runaway success by any stretch of the imagination, but the band’s live show was excellent, so when this upcoming album starting appearing over two months early, I decided to give it a go. I’ve been rewarded with an excellent collection of songs, some moody like my favorite British music, and others dancy like my favorite French music.
All of the lyrics are in English, so if you’re the kind of person turned off by foreign language lyrics, you have no reason to be afraid. The first song is called “Lisztomania,” and is not, unfortunately, an extended reference to the amazingly weird Ken Russell movie. (If you haven’t seen this film, you simply must. You may want to drink first. But only if you’re over 21. Spinning Platters does not support underage drinking.) It is, however, not the best choice to start this album because it’s a little too straight forward, and doesn’t represent what Phoenix is trying to do here.
Instead, I recommend starting with track 4, the amazing “Love Like a Sunset (Planitarium),” an epic 7-minute track that starts with a sweet piano melody accompanied by some moody synths, and slowly builds and builds and builds into an epic crescendo followed by a brief beautiful vocal melody. It’s awesome stuff, and it’s one of the better tracks I’ve heard all year, and I don’t expect much to be better than it.
The rest of the album is of uneven quality, from really great pop songs to more middle-of-the-road material, often sounding a lot like Of Montreal. This could be considered good or bad, depending on your point of view. But the good here is really good, so I recommend checking out the album, and absolutely recommend seeing the band when they come to your town.