Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Music Reviews
Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

French pop group gets edgy

The title of Phoenix’s latest album obviously references composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the song title “Lisztomania” describes the old-school Beatlemania that surrounded 19th-century Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt. But don’t judge this record by its name—the Parisian pop group’s music is decidedly un-classical. Following up 2006’s It’s Never Been Like That, Phoenix has veered ever so slightly from catchy to chaotic, and it works. Thomas Mars sings with the urgency of Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, and his band plays with a Killers-like accessibility. The mostly uptempo Wolfgang slows down midway with instrumental “Love Like A Sunset Part I,” which is half mood-setter, half mood-killer—its climax isn’t so climactic. The album’s lyrics don’t always make sense (still pondering this one from “Lisztomania”: “Romantic not disgusting yet / Darling I’m down and lonely / When with the fortunate only / I’ve been looking for something else/ Do let do let do let jugulate do let do let do”), but then again, English isn’t their first language, and words aren’t the point here, the danceable beats and moody ambience are.

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