When Phoenix appeared on Saturday Night Live in April it was abundantly clear that the PR machine was getting behind them in a big way. Now comes the much-lauded Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, already an unprecedented critical darling. What I am wondering is where the love was back in 2005 when the band couldn’t give away tickets to their sparsely attended concerts, like the one I witnessed at Metro.
I don’t want to bash Phoenix because WA Phoenix really is a good time indeed. Jumping off with the wham-bam thank you ma’am combo of “Lisztomania” and “1901,” the album launches with two surefire hits. Successfully mixing smooth and sexy unlike any of their contemporaries (see “Fences”) the album loses steam with the two-part largely instrumental “Love Like A Sunset Parts I and II.” While providing balance to the saccharine charm of WA Phoenix, the suite bloats an already concise ten-song album. The second half of the record lags a bit as the tracks fail to differentiate themselves. The exception being album closer “Armistice” (appropriate title for a French band) with its electronic nods to Alphabetical-era keyboard and harpsichord sounds.
7.5 out of 10