Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix"- Phoenix


I first heard of this band, like most people in America, from their appearance on SNL this April. I was stunned by their musicianship, songwriting, and how well crafted their songs sounded. I was impressed. So, like I do with virtually all bands I get into, I researched them and figured out everything there was to know about them.

So it turns out that this is not their first album; they've been around since 2000. And even better, ils sont francais!!!!! As you can tell, I was excited.

What I love about "Wolfgang" is how all the songs seem to glide into eachother. Clashing with the waves of poppy, atmospheric synths, perfectly produced guitars, and sly vocals full of gusto and emotion. The production quality is astounding, but they make it seem easy and their production never outshines their songs like most over produced bands. Their songs are very solid. Tight would be a good word to describe them. Everything is put right next to eachother and there's so silence or hollow feeling, it's a very full sounding album. The lyrics are great. They do justice to their great music they're put to. These songs hit the heart, and it sounds like that's where they came from.

The first two tracks are a valiant way to start off a record. "1901" is beautiful. "I'll be anything you ask and more", "It's not the miracle we needed, but I wouldn't let you think so". They've got really strong lyrics, and what sounds like a lot of worldly experiences. The song fades off wonderfully and has you immediately longing for more. "Fences" slides from sly caberet, so hush hush acoustic guitars. The general mood this album invokes is incredible. "Love Like a Sunset" is almost 8 minutes. Most of it is instrumental; with layers of phrased and programmed synths, but words eventually come at the end (at least a couple lines). You'd have no idea how long this song was until you looked at the clock and realized what you just enjoyed was actually 8 minutes. "Lasso"; "Forever is a long long time when you've lost your way". More great lines. The next gem is "Girlfriend". It enters in the same way most do on this album, synths and pads, and the drums start pumping when his sly vocals kick in again. Ah love songs. "Armistice" blends in with the other songs not mentioned thus far. Nothing short of Phoenix genius and therefore incredible pop.

Great music, great lyrics, great production, great mood, great songwriting, great album overall. My only complaint: why couldn't they have added more wonderful songs????????? This album is a beauty, and one of the best this year.

Highlights: "1901", "Lisztomania", "Fences"
Listen if you like: MGMT, Death Cab for Cutie


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