Their single "1901" has been floating around the blogosphere for a minute, so it was only a matter of time before Paris, France’s Phoenix announced the details behind the imminent release of their forthcoming debut. And the follow-up to 2006's critically acclaimed It’s Never Been Like That might just have the band riding an unprecedented ego-high.
Why else would they title the May 26 release, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix? Aside from the release date and title, they've provided us with the track list and the little bit of unfair knowledge that they will be playing select American shows this summer, but that details on these shows will be "announced soon." Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix will be a split release between Glassnote Records and the band’s own newly-formed imprint Loyaute.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix track listing
04. Love Like A Sunset Pt. 1
05. Love Like A Sunset Pt. 2
From the press release: Born out of restlessness and a steady hunt for inspiration, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is a career-defining album, filled with the band’s signature melding of synthetics and organics, sharp, danceable rhythms, infectious choruses with a considerable dose of aural panache, and candy-colored pop sensibilities. These songs are some of their most exuberantly playful, yet also some of the most complex they’ve recorded, more layered and intensely propulsive than previous efforts. Indeed, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is nothing short of elative, creating what is sure to be the soundtrack to late-night summer adventures all over the globe. Staying true to what makes Phoenix so special, a sense of whimsical breeziness envelopes these songs, as if they’ve sprung fully-formed from the band’s collective creative hands in a state of utter pop perfection.
While starting to make Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, however, perfection eluded them, as the band –- comprised of Thomas Mars (vocals), Laurent “Branco” Brancowitz (guitars), Christian Mazzalai (guitars) and Deck D’Arcy (keyboards/bass) –- seemed initially unable to find an environment to provide them with sufficient inspiration. After a triumphant worldwide tour behind It’s Never Been Like That, Phoenix came back to Paris and tried to figure out where to go next -- literally. From attempting to work on a houseboat in the River Seine, to camping out at New York City’s Bowery Hotel, to eventually retreating to the Montmartre house of friend Philippe Zdar of Cassius to record in his studio, the band constantly challenged themselves to write the album they knew they had in them, but couldn’t seem to find, no matter where they went. With Zdar, who co-produced the album (a first for the band, who previously worked with little help from others, hence the undisturbed precision of Phoenix’s universe), they focused on the idea of greatness, determined to create something that would be exciting not only to their rabid fanbase, but to themselves. And thus, after a solid year and a half of tedious reworkings and endless going-back-to-the-starts, the record clicked. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, a tongue-in-cheek title meditating on the idea of “classic and upstart,” was born.
From opener and first single “Lisztomania,” it’s clear this is Phoenix light-years beyond anything they’ve done before, a testament to the record’s finely-tuned intricacy and melodic structures. “1901” leaps out of the speakers, already vying for the Best Song of 2009, with its fizzy power synths, rollicking drums and downright anthemic chorus. “Fences” is velvet-smooth and soulful, twinkling like a disco ball above the dancefloor with shimmering keys, chugging acoustic guitars and Thomas’ lovelorn croon, while “Love Like A Sunset” is the band at their experimental best, allowing the song to build in billowing sound and unhinged keyboard noises until it all melts away, leaving only Thomas’ transcendent vocal at the end. “Rome” will inevitably be the score to a film scene where the male lead turns his back on his love, with its cinematic, psychedelic keyboard chorus, syncopated guitar and lyrical declarations of a love that’s fallen like the ancient European capital. Closing track “Armistice” is coiled and sinister, ending the album with staggered keyboard notes left hanging in the balance.