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Phoenix: Rising from the Sentimental Ashes

Posted by March 26th, 2013 No Comments »

Phoenix Live @ The Paramount
Saturday, March 31
By Kevin Nelson

As Phoenix claims in their smash hit “Lisztomania,” it’s easy to get “So sentimental.”

That’s certainly true about the band itself, but, as the remainder of that line goes “Not sentimental, no.” And that sentiment, the idea that something can have more substance than its sentimental value, describes Phoenix in a nutshell.

The band, which consists of Thomas Mars on vocals, Laurent Brancowitz on guitar and keyboards. Deck D’Arcy on bass, and Christian Mazzalai on guitar, rose to ridiculous levels of fame on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and people might view the band as a sentimental relic from when that album dropped in 2009. But no, “not sentimental no.”

While great, Wolfgang didn’t present anything massively different than the three Phoenix albums that came before it. Wolfgang succeeded because the public finally realized what music lover had known for a while—Phoenix is good. The album lived the lyric.

Yes, the Phoenix style is poppy. Yes it’s fun. And yes the band’s music has the kind of mass appeal that makes for a great iTunes ad. But that didn’t stop Wolfgang from being one of the best albums of 2009. And that also didn’t prevent the band’s 2006 album, It’s Never Been Like That, from being one of that year’s bests either.

Phoenix claim their newest album, Bankrupt!, which comes out on April 23, will delve into more experimental sounds. First single “Entertainment” reveals a bit of this exploration, especially with the large chorus chiming in at the end, but this still sounds like vintage Phoenix through and through—the insanely hooky guitar, the repeated lyrics, the mirth and joy of indie power pop.

Seattle will get a preview of Bankrupt! and a chance to not get sentimental over Wolfgang when the band swings into town to play at The Paramount on Friday, March 29 with special guest Mac Demarco.


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