Melody Maker Phoenix Review

Melody Maker Magazine

This Week's Best New Band Is...Phoenix

Parisian Pop Pranksters

We're depressingly aware of the dire state of the charts, but our French cousins have a far more harrowing singles stats story. Phoenix, as seductive as a supergroup made up of David Ginola, Daft Punk and Nicole, have to suffer worse than two-step terror.

"Our charts are full of musicals," complains guitarist Laurent "Beanco" Brancowitz. "It's the new wave of musicals! France is a strange country, y'know." Almost as strange as Phoenix, who are getting French Top 40 trauma out of their system with an afternoon in sunny west London full of comedy moustaches and skate-park larking. Not that they've lost faith in their gorgeous meeting of American guitars, Parisian thinking ans class-A dance production. It's started fife years ago when singer and drummer Thomas Mars, bassist Deck D'Arcy and guitarist Christian Mazzalai hooked up with Branco. Britain's first taste of them is "Too Young", Eighties-scorched synth-rock so light it could walk on air - and piss all over Air, if they weren't such good mates.

"We've got the same musical tastes," explains Deck.

Thomas reveals: "We were their backing band for a while, which was cool. We're quite different, but we're friends."

So much so that we understand Thomas is the mysterious Gordon Tracks, vocalist on Air's "Playground Love".

"I wanted to do it", says a half-interested Thomas. "But we didn't want to be too attached to Air. So the guy singing on that record, I cannot say."

Err, so is it you or not, Thomas?

"If it was, I could not tell you," he grins.

Very Phoenix, this teasing. As for the song as well, at first you'll think you've stumbled upon your dad's easy listening collection, but it quickly melts into an ocean of funk-whipped guitar-chopped, new-cool sound which a Brit-band would never even attempt.

Branco explains: "You have too much music, so you aren't free. You are slaves!"

Prepare to be liberated by their album, "United", including guest appearances from Air and Daft Ounk. It's the sound of a summery, Seventies, Sunday Morning.

"I hate Sundays," Branco smiles. "So if I could save one Sunday of your life, then I know I could die happy tomorrow."

Andre Paine