Formed in 1997, Phoenix, a hip foursome from the chic Paris suburb of Versailles, became an underground hit with the loungy, mellow and unpretentious sound heard on their 2000 debut album United. Even before the album was officially released, several tracks were already spinning on DJ turntables, taking club dancefloors across the U.K., the U.S. and Europe by storm. However, the group’s album received a frosty welcome back home, with French critics dismissing the band as “little rich kids” who made “wallpaper pop Californian music.” Instead of giving up though, Thomas Mars (vocals), Deck d’Arcy (bass), Laurent Brancowitz (guitar), and Christian Mazzalai (guitar) spent the next two years touring on the international circuit, thus earning a new following of fans abroad. These included Sofia Coppola (Mars’s future wife), who used a track by Phoenix on the soundtrack of her film Lost in Translation.
Alphabetical, the band’s second outing, was released in 2004 and this time round it was met with a much more positive reception in France, as did album No. 3 It’s Never Been Like That. The group’s heady cocktail of rock, pop, electro, hip-hop, folk, and funk, not only seduced the critics but scored a hit with the record-buying public, too.
Now Phoenix are back with their 4th studio effort, due for release on May 25th 2009. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is a brilliant record that combines upbeat indie rock with lush synths and catchy choruses. 1901 is the first single and it is available as a free download from the band’s official site, so check it out and see for yourself why this could probably be the best album of their career so far.