The MIXX Radio Network

Review: Phoenix Embrace Mellow Seventies Sunshine on ‘Ti Amo’

The biggest and best French rock band ever has proved that you can still go pop on the strength of cagey songcraft and retro-rock sophistication. “Champagne or prosecco?” frontman Thomas Mars offers over a New Wave mirror-ball glide on the title track of their sixth LP, before dropping references to the Buzzcocks, soft rock and that venerable old-school smoothie Beethoven.

Phoenix’s2013 LP Bankrupt! seemed to pull back a bit from thespit-polished bounce of their wondrous surprise hits “1901” and “Lisztomania.”This time out, they’re heavy into mellow Seventies sunshine, with majorELO/10cc/Steely Dan overtones. “J-Boy” is posh, pouty disco kicksimpacted with lyrics about lovers like “kamikazes in a hopelessworld.” And “Fior Di Latte” is sad-hearted yacht-soul splendor.Phoenix are at their most fun when they’re writing in the margins of pophistory: The glowing electro ballad “Lovelife” is the AM radio smashKraftwerk never had, while “Telefono” suggests the Doobie Brothers asindie-pop Continentals. Even when you can’t tell what Mars is singing about(which is a lot), the music radiates a suave majesty that feels universal. 

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