Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 03.09.11 in Reviews

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

The best pop record of the spring — go tell everyone

After 2006's relatively rough and relaxed It's Never Been Like That, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix emphasizes the French quartet's ordinarily opposing extremes. Although outside drummers are hired and various hands overdub keyboards, the kinetic grooves on opening singles “Liztomania” and “1901″ get so extraordinarily tight that there's the illusion of four guys rocking out in a room, and the pace rarely falters throughout. At the same time, this is also Phoenix's most ridiculously tweaked disc: Producer Philippe Zdar — half of the French dance duo Cassius — applies the sound filtering effects associated with French house acts like his to the band's alternately Cars-cool and XTC-frantic performances into a rock ‘n' club hologram that's infinitely bigger and brighter than the anonymous Jacques who cower behind the curtain. The entire album feels like one mercifully extended remix.