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AUDIO JUNKIE:

Popular French pop act Phoenix has dropped their sixth and latest album titled “Ti Amo” and it’s a veritable time machine.

Phoenix (Photo from the band’s official Instagram account)

Relegated to alt-rock stations here in Manila (Jam 88.3 specifically), Phoenix has been unfairly branded as the French version of Maroon 5. But the band from Versailles is anything but that as heard on the many fine tracks they have been crafting for years now.

There’s the modern rock-tinged “Lisztomania” and “1901” from “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009),” the acoustic feel of “Everything Is Everything” from “Alphabetical (2004),” and personal favorite “Long Distance Call” and “One Time Too Many” from “It’s Never Been Like That (2006).”

The band, composed of Thomas Mars (real name Thomas Pablo Croquet) on vocals, bassist-keyboardist Deck d’Arcy, and guitarists Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai with touring drummer Thomas Hedlund and keyboard-percussionist Robin Coudert, have always relied on great sounding synth keyboard hooks and they’re still at it on “Ti Amo,” which sounds like a salute to ’80s pop.

Opening track “J-Boy” wheezes with synths and keyboards that scream ’80s. Ditto “Lovelife” with its Pointer Sisters-like keyboard riff, which is also reminiscent of those Men At Work and Nolans singles we devoured in the not-so-distant past.

It goes on with “Fior Di Latte,” which sounds like 1987-era Cutting Crew mixed with a subtle, faux island beat that twists just right to tickle the senses. On “Goodbye Soleil,” the bass line reminds of The Rah Band’s “Clouds Across The Moon” at some points. “Fleur De Lys” is pure dance pop replete with Mars’ falsettos which reminded us somewhat of Bronski Beat. Meanwhile “Telefono” rises with a neat, melodic synth progression that makes us yearn for Giorgio Moroder and Human League singles.

“Via Veneto,” and “Role Model”– all keyboard-driven tracks – ironically passes off as modern day synth pop.
If you like the sound and style of ’80s pop, then go to Phoenix.

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