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REVIEWS - SOUNDS

Title:
United
Artist(s):
Phoenix
El-Camel's Ratings:

Label:
Source
---BUY THIS ALBUM---
Reviewer:
owen adams

** CONTRIBUTE A REVIEW **

How the worm doth turn! Just a miniscule time ago, many of us surely would have run a mile away from unadulterated American AOR. That was the bleak 80s, when Foreigner, Toto, Steve Miller Band and Queen songs dominated every movie soundtrack, when Radio One pretended techno and hip-hop didn't exist but peddled this turgid racket day in, day out interspersed with Euro pop and Howard Jones. Arrrggghh!

So why are a French trio like Phoenix, who proudly wear these MOR influences on their sleeve, getting so much attention and acclaim?

Somehow, the quirky, zany Gauls have some ingredient that was missing from the 9-to-5 office-party death-disco music, a certain je ne sais quoi.

Too Young, Phoenix's latest single from the album, though festooned with the sort of synth riffs found on Van Halen's Jump, and the sort of West Coast easy-life vocals found on the Steve Miller Band's The Joker, has that spark of freshness, that definitive otherness that distances it from the tepid mass that comprises plain rock. Goddamit, there's something genius about Phoenix that you can't put your finger on.

The trail through the most traditional conservative rock styles known to man disappears beneath us, just as it's getting tiresome. The three-part Funky Squaredance is astonishing. It's a song line-dancers, rock opera fans and lovers of the burlesque and grotesque will all love. Starting with nonsense lyrics sung through a vocoder like Cher on mescaline, to a bouncy new country beat, it eventually transpires this is not so-bad-its-good kind of fodder, but so bewildering it's essential (for the perverse, anyway). The C&W abruptly morphs into an electro hip-hop funktastic warp out, before heavy rock guitars that'd make Brian May or Joe Satriani weep turn it into some kind of 21st century Bohemian Rhapsody. Meanwhile, an early-model robot voice mournfully intones the "funky squaredance, funky squaredance" chorus that binds the perplexingly diverse slabs of music together.

Why is United so likeable, when ultimately its source material is so fucking bland and indescribably awful? Is it because Phoenix's Gallic gastronomy has taken in disco, soft and hard rock, swallowed it whole, then regurgitated it into infinitely more interesting shapes? Answer: There isn't a coherent one


Oilzine Members Reviews
United
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UserID:
eazydan
Ratings:
Review:
It's not a bad album.........
Posted:
11/06/01 10:09:42
   
UserID:
benny
Ratings:
Review:
It's disgusting
Posted:
08/06/01 14:32:14
   
UserID:
eazydan
Ratings:
Review:
I hate it
Posted:
08/06/01 14:32:12
   


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