Noticing that "It's Never Been Like That," the new disc from France's Phoenix -- on the almost always batting 1.000 Astralwerks Records -- has a song called "Consolation Prizes" makes me think wistfully of the Orange Juice song of a similar name and I figure that's a good sign.
I liked the band's previous discs and was sorry to have missed their Onopa gig a while back, but nothing prepared me for how much I'd like this one, their third.
The aforementioned "Consolation Prizes" sounds EXACTLY like Josh Rouse and that can only be a good thing. Thomas Mars sings just like Rouse on this one and it has the same, wind in your hair summery sound.
The same is true of "Long Distance Call." In fact, the entire 10-disc is upbeat, breezy, poppy and melodic and there's nary a low point, making this that rare CD that you can just pop in and let it repeat again and again. (I'll save my rant on the loss of focus during the CD era for another time.)
Fresh, unadorned, straightforward and striking ... And how often can you say that?
Note: Galli-phobes don't have to worry, either. Sung entirely in English and with musical influences that are more American and British than French, there's nothing here to even clue one in that the band is from France. (And anyway, we shouldn't hate the French; without their help at the beginning we might not even have a country.)