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[Indie Pop]


Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Annie Zaleski

Oddly, Phoenix made an April appearance on Saturday Night Live. Though they have released three albums full of kicky electro-funk-rock and have ties to France’s elite electronic acts—guitarist Laurent Brancowitz once played in a band with pals who later formed Daft Punk; Phoenix helped back Air on Moon Safari—the Parisians aren’t household names in America. But Phoenix’s stellar fourth LP, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, should help raise its profile here in the States.


Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Four stars
Beyond the Weekly

The quartet downplays its space-funk tendencies, which often made its songs sound lightweight, in favor of a more traditional guitar-rock sound rooted in Brit-pop, indie and new wave. Yet these familiar tropes don’t sound tired: “Lasso” is a bouncy, danceable post-punk song with spiky riffs; the piano-buoyed “Lisztomania” is a Spoon-on-Prozac romp; and the lush disco-rock gem “Fences” features a midnight-hued bassline and seedy discotheque beats. Better is the single “1901,” which features ’70s-era FM-radio riffs and vocalist Thomas Mars as a dead ringer for Of Montreal vocalist Kevin Barnes (specifically, his falsetto cadences and glam monotone). But even Wolfgang’s curveballs—in particular, the seven-minute Kraut-rock electro drone “Love Like a Sunset”—feel revitalized, creative and fun. Vive la France!


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