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June 08, 2009 - Image 9

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-06-08

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Monday, June 8, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9

Phoenix takes flight

French band leaps
from out of obscurity
into mainstream
popularity
By ARTHUR VELEZ
For the Daily
When The Strokes released
their debut album Is This It (2001),
it was met with a
wave of zealous
critical acclaim.
The explanation -n
for the record's
success is multi- Wolfgang
faceted, but one Amadeus
irrefutable rea- Phoenix
son is the instru- V2
mental cohesion
that seeped from
every song on the album. Often
times, the band was so locked in
as an ensemble it became difficult
to distinguish synthesized record-
ings from live instruments.
In a similar vein of calculated
pop music is French electro-pop
outfit Phoenix. With their fourth
studio album Wolfgang Amadeus
Phoenix, the Parisians distance
themselves from the garage and
strut toward the club. The band's
complete and thorough songwrit-
inghas brought them to a Strokes-
like musical status, gaining equal
respect from hipsters and the
mainstream alike.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is
essentially split into two halves,
each showcasing a different musi-
cal mindset. The album opens
with a trio of extremely appeal-
OSSCOLO BORBERS
HOURS
Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00pm
Sat 8:30-3:00pm

ing tracks, marked by angular
guitar lines, syncopated drum-
ming and singer Thomas Mars's
soaring tenor. The pop sensibili-
ties embedded in the synth-heavy
single "1901" exemplify the band's
impeccable songwriting ability.
Dividing the two halves is the
mountainous "Love Like A Sunset,"
an eight-minute epic that sets the
stage for the more eclectic second
half of the disc. Instrumentation is
the backbone of the album, a qual-
ity reminiscent of The Strokes's
tight sound. Instead of depending
on a single hook or featured instru-
ment, each track seems to have
been meticulously written, with
intricate and indispensable parts
delegated to every instrument.
When a foreign band attempts to
write lyrics outside of their native
tongue, it often results in a mun-
dane, obvious and less-than-pleas-
ing English cadence. With this in
mind, Mars uses literate words
that are astonishing in their subtle
beauty, reminding the listener that
English is the language of pure pop.
This is vigorously displayed on the
driving "Countdown (Sick For The
Big Sun)," as Mars asks "Do you

Apparently this French band didn't know "Knock 'em dead" is just an expression.

DO YOU
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FRIENDS
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remember when 21 years was old?"
with the fervor of a teenager and
the wisdom of an old man.
Though this album may not
achieve the success of Is This It,
it deserves to be respected within
the same context. Wolfgang Ama-
deus Phoenix is a brilliant album
by a band that has surely paid its
dues. After ten years flying under
the radar, Phoenix has finally made
the proverbial "hop across the
pond" into the watering mouths
and eager ears of America's criti-
cal indie-rock crowd. These nine

tracks exhibit an infectious blend
of sprawling pop and a European
sense of style - easily ready for
mass appeal.

Complimentary
Appraisals of
Musical Instruments
Tarisio Auctions is the
international leader in stringed
instrument auctions. Our expert
Christopher Reuning will be in:
Detroit June 20th
to offer complimentary
evaluations of violins, violas,
cellos and bows and to
accept consignments to our
upcoming auctions.
Westin Hotel
2501 Worldgateway Place
Detroit, Michigan 48242
For an appointment,
please call 1.800.814.4188.

Tarisio

I

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