Phoenix, 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' (Loyaute/Glassnote)

Critical Mass
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by Josh Modell

These arch Frenchmen make precision-tooled pop that somehow retains a sense of urgency and playfulness -- an impressive balancing act consistently slam-dunked by effortlessly ingratiating choruses. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (what an effing title!) opens with two near-perfect prototypes, the gloriously sunny "Listzomania," and its crisper, quicker cousin, "1901." Nothing quite matches that salvo, but the atmospheric, Air-indebted "Fences" and yacht-rockin' "Girlfriend" come close. There's even an epic, mid-album palate cleanser (genial comedown "Love Like a Sunset") that counteracts any potential bliss overdose.

WATCH: Phoenix, "Listzomania"

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