Phoenix's new incarnation

Sound Salvation

If you judge your favorite songs by the number of times you play them, Phoenix's "If It's Not With You" is definitely in my top 10, since it's release in 2004. There's just something about the bubbly, yet laid back keyboards, which sound like something you could play with a Casio from Radio Shack, that makes me smile. Combine that with sweet lyrics and a quirky sing-songy delivery and you have a winning pop song in my opinion
Pretty much everything from the French band's Alphabetical follows in that pattern. Even upbeat tracks, such as "Everything is Everything," still have a innocence that is refreshing.
But for this year's It's Never Been Like That Phoenix sort of abandons sweetness to sound a lot like the Strokes. The album's first single, "Long Distance Call," finds a middle ground between the Phoenix of old and the new band that's risen from its ashes. While the verses follow the familiar formula of Casios and mellow vocals, the chorus is awash with angular guitars and an urgency not heard in the band's previous work.
And after that, the Alphabetical Phoenix disappears. In it's place is a band with solid songs, but which places them in an overworked idiom. The album is enjoyable, but songs that bands like "Sometimes in the Fall" that the Bloc Party would give some weight to lack muscle.
Still It's Never Been Like That is an enjoyable, upbeat album and a good companion for summer.

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