Alphabetical is Phoenix's second album, trailing their debut by nearly four years. It's much less of a mishmash than its predecessor, basing itself around the group's soft, cunningly arranged pop that occasionally reaches beyond '70s AM and '80s sophisti-pop to slip in discreet traces of hip-hop. During their time away, Phoenix became much more proficient as synthesists; certain moments on 2000's United seemed to signal, "Here's where we declare our love of country music," or "Here's the song where we try to sound exactly like Todd Rundgren." This issue has been fixed; the seams that bind their inspirations are now less visible. They're also much better songwriters now, but the lack of variation -- in tempo and in sound -- nearly wipes out the positives by leaving the album with a sluggishness. It's particularly troublesome if you're not in a very specific mood (not simply laid-back, but a kind of laid-back) and want to stay there for the duration of the listen. The album would've benefited from a song or two with the vigor of United's "Too Young" and "If I Ever Feel Better" to break up the monotony; and tracks three through 11 are nowhere near the high level of tracks one and two, making the album drag all the more as it plays out. If not a qualified across-the-board improvement, Alphabetical is at least a good record by a group with plenty of unrealized potential. Perhaps they should stick to singles.
Performance CreditsPhoenix Primary Artist
Pino Palladino Bass
Alex Locascio Percussion,Drums
Thomas Mars Vocals,Group Member
Deck d'Arcy Bass,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Group Member
Christian Mazzalai Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Jean-Max Mery Keyboards
Ivan Beck Acoustic Guitar
Laurent Brancowitz Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Group Member
Jim Mery Keyboards
Technical CreditsCatharine David Artwork
Phoenix Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Tony Hoffer Producer,Audio Production
Hedi Slimane Artwork
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Alphabetical based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This is my favourite album of the year (so far). I must admit that it took me a few listens to cherish it, but after that, I became hooked. I had heard Phoenix on the "Lost in Translation" soundtrack, and loved that track so much that I was disappointed on first listen with "Alphabetical". Granted that track is from Phoenix's 2000 album, "United," which I have yet to hear, but severely want to. "Alphabetical" is so unlike anything that is out right now. Phoenix has a sound and style so unique on this album, I can't wait to see what they will do in the future. From the groovy "Run Run Run" to the beautiful "Alphabetical," this is a gorgeous album that has adorned my stereo and Ipod for months, and will most likely continue to do so.