Legend has it that a phoenix is reborn from its ashes after its body is engulfed in flames. Yet Phoenix, a four-man band from France, never crashed and burned. Their latest album shows that they have a seemingly endless supply of complex pop tunes that sound as alive and vivid as ever. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is 37 minutes of pure joy — crunchy synths, staccato guitar effervescence and danceable beats, all compressed to perfection. "Fences" is a shimmering disco-tinged breakdown with almost as much groove as John Travolta circa 1977. "Lisztomania" and "1901" are undeniable foot- tappers and booty-shakers, complete with calls to action like "Time to show it off!" Something strange happens halfway through the album when "Love Like a Sunset," a two-part otherworldly experimental adventure, puts the dance beats to rest. It's a natural progression from Phoenix's spacey, futuristic sound. But it's a great relief when the band returns to the dance-pop of the rest of the album. If Wolfgang is Phoenix's rebirth, may they live a long, long life. — Danielle Sills
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