I wouldn’t be reviewing the same bands if you all would do your part and recommend me music, so really this is your fault. Phoenix is well established in the Indie Pop/Rock scene selling out arenas across the globe. They got their starts in the suburbs of Paris as school friends, vocalist and instrumentalist Thomas Mars, Bassist Deck D’arcy, and Guitarist Chris Marzzalai, joined Members of Darlin’, a former project of the duo famous for Daft Punk. More about Phoenix and their early years can be found in my review of their album, Ti Amo. Three Albums would come before we got the work Phoenix is still most famous for. For now, the band was mostly getting radio play in England and France, seen as ‘overseas darlings’ on American radios.
In 2009, following a compilation album the group did for French label, Kitsune, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was released to the world in March. Its lead single, “1901”, was a tribute to a time of cultural growth in Paris, yet also was tangled in a love story as most Parisian things go. While telling the history of a period, this song also captures the soul of a city. One split between traditionalist values and new age ideas while they teetered on the edge of a new century of industrial growth. But that’s not what made it famous. People loved the old school disco/dance hall beat and fast paced, not very sing along friendly lyrics sung by Mars and his French accent. The result was a commercially successful song that would go on to be heard everywhere, almost defining those years in alt/indie rock. In the movie Boyhood, they use this song as a way of letting the listener know this scene is taking place in 2010-2011. This would go on to bring the band on such a long list of American late-night talk shows I would get tired just typing it out. By all signs, Phoenix had made it. From this point on, the group could go anywhere on Earth and sell out any venue they wanted. This song was so game-changing for the band I haven’t even gotten to the rest of the album. Also released as singles off the album, “Lisztomania” and “Lasso” are also very lovely songs, but something about a ballad really fits with vinyl as a format. Something about the listening style goes well with longer songs such as Car Seat Headrest’s “Ballad of the Costa Concordia” and “Beach Life-In-Death”. The era of this album was one that still pushed short songs, so we get “Love Like a Sunset (part 1)” and “Love Like a Sunset (part 2)” right next to each other. Listening to both back to back makes it my favorite song on this album. If they had gone the extra step and put the two together, I would put it up there with some ballads by those previously mentioned.
There’s not much to really say to the vinyl itself. It’s high quality yet comes in a stock paper inner sleeve. The jacket isn’t much to write home about, but I love the simplistic design of the whole thing. It actually fits some of the style of Parisian artists on the cusp of the modern art era. In all, I keep it as part of my collection for the music, not the vinyl.