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Phoenix are basically a pop rock band, but after listening to Wolfgang Amadaeus Phoenix it comes as no surprise to me that Phoenix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz used to be in a band with Daft Punk called Darlin’. Actually, funny story, the name “Daft Punk” was a phrase that Darlin’ got tagged with, Bangalter and the other one liked it so much they decided it was perfect for their brand of electric disco … Anyway,  Wolfgang Amadaeus Phoenix is basically analogous to one of the formative albums of my childhood, an album that’s assumed listening for anyone still under the age of 25: Daft Punk’s Discovery. What Discovery did was to reduce house music to its essential elements, mix it with some classic funk samples, and infuse it with soulful pop song-writing; whereas this album is a similarly compelling macramé of the best elements of classic pop, alt-rock, and that mostly annoying, mostly British nu-kraut, all of it infused with an upbeat swagger, a melodic innocence, and dynamics! And like Discovery, so much of the song-writing is vapid, silly teenage lyricism’s like “I’m so alone!”; songs about sharing cigarettes and girlfriends and other such cliches. But it doesn’t really matter, because the listening experience is so thoroughly enjoyable. And that’s what this album is: unashamedly enjoyable pop music.

****1/2