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Old 05-26-2006, 12:29 PM   #1
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Phoenix--It's Never Been Like That

I don't know how many people here even know about this band, but they are amazing and have just released a new album that has totally consumed my listening existence.

Phoenix is a French band who happens to sing all of their lyrics in English. They're best known for having a song on the Lost in Translation soundtrack ("Too Young", the song playing when they're dancing in the Japanese guy's apartment).
Their first album, United, was a total mishmash of styles, covering terrain like hard Brit-Pop, smooth 70's rock, breakdancing music, disco, country, etc.

The second album, Alphabetical, was much more homogenous, and a full-on pop affair. I wouldn't call it electronica but there's not a lot of electric guitar. It sound closest to a funked-up Aja-era Steely Dan, with the layered vocals, sublime and precise instrumentation and production.

The new release, It's Never Been Like That, seems to come out of left field. It's a much more raw, jagged record, with the guitars front and center, and an abandon that the band has only shown before on one track off their first record. What comes off as abrasive on the intitial listen, however, turns out to be just as catchy as anything they've released before. It just takes a couple listens to shake off the expectations. While the vocal harmonies are missed, the melodies, some of which are beneath the surface, still betray the talent of some very gifted songwriters. And despite the intention to rock out this time around, there's a gorgeous ballad or two, and a couple genre jumps that still fit into the overall scheme.

If you're interested in hearing anything, the band has a myspace page at You can stream "Long Distance Call", which I feel is the best single I've heard this year. Also on the page is their breakthrough single "If I Ever Feel Better". In a perfect world, these guys would be huge. After these three albums, you get the sense they could do anything at this point.

check it out.

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Old 05-26-2006, 12:37 PM   #2
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Nevermind, I see the myspace page. Thanks for the heads up man.

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Old 05-26-2006, 01:10 PM   #3
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Haven't had a chance to listen to them yet, but have been seeing their name everywhere. The Onion gave them a stellar review.
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