Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix may be snyth-pop's magnum opus. The fourth album from the French rock band Phoenix is an inventive and precisely orchestrated collection of beautiful and funky songs built to become classics. They may not end up in an esteemed musical canon like the works of Franz Liszt and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—two of the classical composers referenced in the album—but Phoenix's masterpiece is too thoughtful and expertly executed to get lost in any shuffling of trends.
This is an album Phoenix has been hinting at since its inception over a decade ago in Versailles. The band has produced pure moments of bliss and nostalgia before with songs like "Too Young" and "On Fire" off the band's 2000 debut United, but they've never been able to contain that excitement over the course of an entire album.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is different. Set amongst waves of swelling synthesizers and shimmering guitars, its simultaneously restrained and forceful drumming paired with singer Thomas Mars's dynamic and graceful set of pipes plant the record in a timeless spell of funk, soul, and electronic rapture.
The band's helped make a few splashes before. Guitarist Laurent Brancowitz played in the band Darlin' that later became Daft Punk. Mars, who's married to director Sofia Coppola, landed "Too Young" in his wife's award-winning Lost In Translation. Now, after spending a year recording in Paris, Phoenix is poised to unleash its own noise. And a glorious one it is.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix releases May 26.
Taste a peek: