Thursday, June 11, 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: PHOENIX – "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix"

Ok…this is going to sound weird but the last Phoenix album It’s Never Been Like That reminds me of my mom’s 60th birthday. I was home from NYC running around in my folk’s car trying to pick up poster-board, markers, double-sided tape and other supplies for my moms party. Going into this mission I knew I needed tunes but unfortunately my dad did not have an iPod adapter and there were no cds in the car except for Cary Simon and Sade. That said I immediately popped into Coconuts Music in Exton, PA and picked up Phoenix per a recommendation from a friend. God forbid I drive around for 30 minutes listening to the radio. The album was so tight that I couldn’t stop listening to it all weekend while at home. That was 2006 and I really haven’t stopped listening to it since. It was one of those “life-changers” or “milestones” records for me. Some albums just sink in when they come around. Albums more prominent in your memory and played a lot more as they remind you of going through certain abnormal periods of your life.

Needless to say the lead-up to the latest Phoenix album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was torture. I’d get little snippets of news now and again. The song 1901 was released in April (I had thought that was the title of the album for a long time given what they cryptically had on their website). I’m glad they led off with that track in terms of singles. Then all of a sudden they were booked on SNL (see my post on 3/26). Any news related to the new recordings slowly leaked out from early ’08…then all of a sudden they were all over the place. They even sponsored an episode of Free Radio on VH1 (which is hilarious btw). The sound of WAP skews more towards the electronica spectrum but in a good way. Some bands try to go new-wave and miss the mark completely. Don’t get me wrong the new Phoenix doesn’t have a new wave sound. They just added in some synths to their already guitar-pop stylings. Songs like 1901 and Fences illustrate this new direction more readily than Lisztomania which is the other single. Fences actually sounds like their earlier work from United (the few tracks I know). All of the tracks on Wolfgang are different and most all of them are completely rockin like Countdown and Armistice but there is one track…one track…that absolutely floors me and that’s LASSO. If you throw this song on and don’t start grooving when the chorus kicks in…then I don’t want to know you anymore. I’m not kidding. Pick up Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. You’ll dig it and if you don’t have Its Never Been Like That yet then please go pick up that album prior to WAP. Listen to one then the other and see if you have the same view of album progression as I do. If you don’t then…again…I don’t want to know you anymore. Hahahaha…this time I’m totally kidding…OR AM I?????

If you haven’t seen Phoenix live you’ll be happy to know that they seem to be ever adding US tour dates. Unfortunately most are sold out at the moment. Thank God (more like "Thank Rob") I am going to one of the NYC shows.


Peter Yaron said...

Just downloaded and am listening to it now, egg-cell-ent. (in Jackee', '227' voice) ....oh hi Tommy.

Peter Yaron said...

Fuck its catchy, 18 hours later, been listening to it almost non-stop. Solid almost all the way through (insert poo joke) could live without 'Girlfriend' and (home demo) track. Only a matter of time until the top is blown on this....TC, you ad guys got your finger on the pulse.