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Phoenix|United

United

Phoenix

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On their debut album for Astralwerks/Source, Phoenix applies a slick electronica aesthetic to traditional pop/rock songwriting, resulting in a quite adventurous album capable of re-organizing perceptions about 1980s-style verse-chorus-verse guitar pop. Of course, the fact that the group members come from France gives them the necessary perspective on commercial American pop/rock from the past. With this perspective, they bring fresh life to something that grew stale fast, primarily with their textural approach to songwriting. For instance, the catchy vocal hook from "Too Young" seems far too melodic for its own good, mostly from the pristine production that brings an uncanny gleam to Thomas Mars' already warm voice. Furthermore, one can pick pretty much any instrument in any given song and appreciate the way the sounds come alive in ways that few pop/rock songs are capable of: the percussion gently rattles far too crisply, the bass guitar sounds more like a house bassline than an actual guitar riff, and the subtle guitar sounds seem just too little like the oft-stale sounds that have been associated with guitars over the years. In sum, the album sounds great, but the allure goes deeper than just production. The band understands how to write catchy songs that manage to retain an innocent aura of simplicity and accessibility without coming off contrived. To just think of United as an album of slick pop/rock postmodernism would be cheapening; think of the album as an uncanny yet earnest showcase of what makes pop/rock pop without the gaudy trendiness that now makes the 1980s seem so distasteful.

© Jason Birchmeier /TiVo

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United

Phoenix

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1
School's Rules
00:01:32

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Rob, Clavinet - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Philippe Zdar, Mixer - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company

2
Too Young
00:03:18

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Rob, Clavinet - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Jean-Paul Gonnod, Mixer - Philippe Zdar, Mixer - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Cubain, Percussion - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company

3
Honeymoon
00:04:59

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Philippe Zdar, Mixer - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Cubain, Percussion - Sandrine Longuet, Harp - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company

4
If I Ever Feel Better
00:04:25

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Rob, Clavinet - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Philippe Zdar, Mixer - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, String Arranger, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Conductor, Producer, String Arranger, Bass Guitar, Writer, Strings Conductor - Thomas Mars, Producer, String Arranger, Vocals, Writer - Chikara Ueda, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, String Arranger, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company.

5
Party Time
00:02:12

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Julien Delfaud, Mixer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Mixer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Mixer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Mixer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company

6
On Fire
00:02:50

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Julia Sarr, Backing Vocals - Philippe Zdar, Mixer - Jean-philippe Dary, Clavinet - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Cubain, Percussion - Camille Baz Baz, Hammond Organ - Hugo Ferran, Saxophone - Andrew Crocker, Trumpet - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Guitar - Oliza Zamati, Vocals

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company.

7
Embuscade
00:03:56

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Rob, Clavinet - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Thomas Bangalter, Synthesizer - Philippe Zdar, Mixer - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer, Mixer - Cubain, Percussion - Hugo Ferran, String Arranger, Saxophone, Writer, Arrangement Horn - Patrick Sherlock, Trombone - P Nadal, Conductor - Andrew Crocker, Trumpet - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, a Warner Music Group Company

8
Summer Days
00:03:15

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Marlon, Drums - Philippe Zdar, Mixer - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Hugo Ferran, String Arranger - P Nadal, Conductor - Eddie Efira, Pedal Steel Guitar - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company

9
Funky Squaredance, Pt. 1/2/3 (Medley)
00:09:39

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Thomas Croquet, Writer - Laurent Mazzalai, Writer - Morgan, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Marlon, Drums - Philippe Zdar, Producer - Pedro Winter, Synthesizer - Frederic Moulin, Writer - Eddie Efira, Pedal Steel Guitar - The Love Choral Society, Vocals - The Arcysian Vocal Ensemble, Choir - Jean Claude Soubeyrand, Conductor - Noé Efira, Lead Guitar - The Hector Berlioz Choir, Choir - Bryce De La Menardière, Zither - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Guitar - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Bass Guitar - Thomas Mars, Producer, Voices - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company

10
Definitive Breaks
00:01:40

Christian Mazzalai, Writer - Mike Marsh, MasteringEngineer - Julien Delfaud, Mixer - Phoenix, MainArtist - Alex Firla, Producer - Stephane "Alf" Briat, Producer - Hugo Ferran, Saxophone - Junior Carrera, Guitar - Laurent Brancowitz, Producer, Mixer, Guitar, Writer - Deck D'Arcy, Producer, Mixer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Thomas Mars, Producer, Mixer, Vocals, Writer - Chris Mazzalai, Producer, Mixer, Guitar

Label Source, © 2000 Warner Music France ℗ 2000 Parlophone / Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company.

Album review

On their debut album for Astralwerks/Source, Phoenix applies a slick electronica aesthetic to traditional pop/rock songwriting, resulting in a quite adventurous album capable of re-organizing perceptions about 1980s-style verse-chorus-verse guitar pop. Of course, the fact that the group members come from France gives them the necessary perspective on commercial American pop/rock from the past. With this perspective, they bring fresh life to something that grew stale fast, primarily with their textural approach to songwriting. For instance, the catchy vocal hook from "Too Young" seems far too melodic for its own good, mostly from the pristine production that brings an uncanny gleam to Thomas Mars' already warm voice. Furthermore, one can pick pretty much any instrument in any given song and appreciate the way the sounds come alive in ways that few pop/rock songs are capable of: the percussion gently rattles far too crisply, the bass guitar sounds more like a house bassline than an actual guitar riff, and the subtle guitar sounds seem just too little like the oft-stale sounds that have been associated with guitars over the years. In sum, the album sounds great, but the allure goes deeper than just production. The band understands how to write catchy songs that manage to retain an innocent aura of simplicity and accessibility without coming off contrived. To just think of United as an album of slick pop/rock postmodernism would be cheapening; think of the album as an uncanny yet earnest showcase of what makes pop/rock pop without the gaudy trendiness that now makes the 1980s seem so distasteful.

© Jason Birchmeier /TiVo

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