Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Phoenix Preview

| July 26, 2006

Double Door, Chicago
Friday, July 28, 2006

Transforming from Air’s understudies to a French pop band who don’t need to have the “French” part underscored, Phoenix’s transformation turned them into album-of-the-year candidates.

As one of those things that goes without saying yet can never be overstated, Air’s Moon Safari opened doors for French pop bands like none before. Unfortunately for Phoenix, their arrival Stateside did not coincide with a breaking down of Franco-American prejudices, New World Order, or anything of the sort musically. Instead, United was an ironically split disc of disco needs and baffling air-guitar wants. Four years later, *Alphabetical retreated to their pop guitar camp, waging special ops with the occasional Kraut influence but dragging their knees through midtempo mud.

Instead of grasping at straws for their third (and potentially last) album, Phoenix instead turn in gem after gem of light guitar pop on It’s Never Been Like That, a literal title as any. Brimming with life in exuberant power pop numbers like “Consolation Prizes,” “Rally,” and “Courtesy Laughs,” Phoenix could go toe-to-toe with Shout Out Louds in the wide-eyed, child-like championships. Hints of former guitar/synth concoctions return in “Long Distance Call,” yet in this context it’s a boon, not a bane.

– Steve Forstneger

Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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