Phoenix ‘Ti Amo’

There are some gems on ‘Ti Amo’. The outline might be even more disco than usual, with ‘Tuttifrutti’ particularly going all ‘Carwash’ on us, but this at least spoils us with some really fun music
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2009 saw the breakthrough of French synth pop group Phoenix with their internationally renowned ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’. Ever since, interest has surrounded the band whenever they pop up with a new project – 2013 gave us ‘Bankrupt!’, a tad more polarizing due to its emphasis on disco influence, nearly outright shunning the rock direction of its predecessor. But the record still had some very likeable tunes, and it serves as a pretty optimistic prelude for new release ‘Ti Amo’.

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The phrase “ti amo” is Italian for “I love you”, a statement guaranteed to make or break a person, and a selection of words that has found its place in pop music for over hundred years or so now. Phoenix don’t really use this to grant the listener a rousing batch of lovey songs, and in fairness, at first glance the songs do seem to uncover Phoenix’s game-plan as “let’s make a Phoenix song”, to the point where you’ll know what one sounds like if you’ve heard one or two already – danceable, flashy synthesizers, not really doing too much to distinguish itself from the usual Soundcloud synth dance pop. In this regard, ‘Bankrupt!’ isn’t really being surpassed by ‘Ti Amo’, which is a shame because that seems like it’d be a turnoff for a lot of listeners, even big fans.

Luckily, there are some gems on ‘Ti Amo’. The outline might be even more disco than usual, with ‘Tuttifrutti’ particularly going all ‘Carwash’ on us, but this at least spoils us with some really fun music. The title track is a highlight, it boasts the necessary trademark Phoenix pentatonic fills, and the unorthodox structure will remind people of some of the better songs from the last album. ‘Lovelife’ has a colourful keyboard hook, ‘Role Model’ holds a nice juxtaposition of gentle and terrifying, and ‘J-Boy’ is exciting enough to serve as a purposeful opening track. ‘Telefono’ is a nice closer, even if it does bear a striking resemblance to ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay.

There aren’t too many individual low points. ‘Goodbye Soleil’ and ‘Fleur de lys’ aren’t that interesting but they’re otherwise harmless, and while ‘Fior Di Latte’ might have the most annoying chorus vocal that Thomas Mars has ever performed – where he tries to sound a little too much like Panda Bear – the composition is at least quite lovely.

The bright lights and European nightclub vibes of ‘Ti Amo’ might lead to the album sounding too much like a caricature of Phoenix, but if a fun, slightly romantic synth pop album is what you want, it’s what you’re getting here.

‘Ti Amo’ is out June 9th via Atlantic/Glassnote

Phoenix tour dates are as follows…

6/3/17 – New York, NY @ Governor’s Ball
6/4/17 – Toronto, ON @ Field Trip Festival
6/5/17 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom +
6/7/17 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks + %
6/10/17 – San Francisco, CA @ Live 105
6/11/17 – San Diego, CA @ X-Fest
6/13/17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Marquee Theater +
6/14/17 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl +
6/15/17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl + &
6/21-6/25/17 – Worthy Farm, Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival
6/29/17 – Vilanova i la Geltru, Spain @ Vida Festival
6/30/17 – Marmande, France @ Garorock Festival
7/1/17 – Montreux, Switz @ Montreux Jazz Festival
7/6/17 – Lisbon, Portugal @ NOS Alive
7/7/17 – Bilbao, Spain @ Bilbao BBK Live
7/8/17 – Hérouville-St-Clair, France @ Beauregard Festival
7/9/17 – Belfort, France @ Les Eurockéennes Festival
7/13/17 – Aix-les-Bains, France @ Musilac Festival
7/14/17 – Carhaix, France @ Les Vieilles Charrues
7/12-16/17 – Dour, Belgium @ Dour Festival
7/16/17 – Berlin-Ferropolis, Germany @ Melt! Festival
7/20-22/17 – Wiesen, Austria @ Out of the Woods
7/22/17 – Roma, Italy @ Rock in Roma
8/5/17 – Bandol, France @ Lunallena festival
8/11-12/17 – Bali, Indonesia @ Sunny Side Up Festival
8/11-13/17 – Jakarta, Indonesia @ We The Fest
8/12-8/13/17 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia @ Good Vibes Fest
8/15/17 – Manila, Philippines @ Araneta Coliseum
8/17/17 – Bangkok, Thailand @ Moon Star Studio
8/19/17 – Tokyo, Japan @ Summer Sonic Festival
8/20/17 – Osaka, Japan @ Summer Sonic Festival
9/1/17 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Popaganda Festival
9/2/17 – Laois, Ireland @ Electric Picnic
9/24/17 – Munich, Germany @ Tonhalle
9/25/17 – Cologne, Germany @ Palladium
9/26/17 – Hamburg, Germany @ Grosse Freiheit
9/28/17 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg @ Rockhalle
9/29/17 – Paris, France @ AccorHotels Arena
9/30/17 – London, UK @ Alexandra Palace
11/12/17 – Bogota, Colombia @ Soma Festiva
11/18-19/17 – Mexico City, Mexico @ Corona Capital

+- With The Lemon Twigs
%-With Miike Snow
&-With Mac DeMarco