Sean’s Modern Marvels: Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus”

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Over the years I find myself slowly and slowly becoming exhausted at a majority of the heavy music I listen to. It has nothing to do with me not enjoying the hardcore genre anymore but more to do with the fact I listen to such a vast majority of bands underneath the gigantic umbrella that I need other things to cleanse my pallet and refresh my sense. Wolfgang Amadeus may be on of the most pop/dance driven albums I posses in my iTunes library, but I cherish it. This is the only Phoenix release I physically own and spend time with, and it never fails me.

It’s show time,” is cried out in the ever so humble ‘Litzsomania’ which kicks off this jolly album. No matter how far ahead you gain in life never forget to take a step back and look at how ridiculous it all is. The beats that help the chorus progress pulse between flamboyant guitar licks and a light hearted vocal approach. As with many of the tracks on this album, the bass grooves between the massive amount of space Phoenix use to house their music. 

Everyone remembers ‘1901’ and ‘Lasso’. The two tracks sparked fire and light in people’s ears, the former with commanding synthesizers that buzz between wailing vocals and catchy beats with the latter having memorable chord progressions and relatively cute lyrics that get people’s feet moving. It is almost hard not to sing along to either of these songs. 

Sitting comfortably between these two singles is a duo of fantastic compositions stretching how far the band wanted to take their sound. ‘Love Like A Sunset, Pt. 1’ drones with massive arpeggios beeping in and out between the wave of instruments. Part 2 of ‘Love Like A Sunset’ is a less aggressive mesh of arrangements and a serene calm to the previous storm. The airy vocals blend well with the atmosphere that Phoenix is painting of the horizon of love shining through a dark storm.

I am going to dedicate a few sentences to the third track ‘Fences,’ which happens to be my favorite track off of this. The atmosphere in this song is fantastic. I am not sure if being awake and dreaming in is normal but it happens when this song takes over my eardrums. The song makes all rationale thoughts disappear as the falsetto vocals float above great syncopation between all members of the band.

The back half of the album is full of variety and tracks that engage the listener effortlessly. ‘Rome’ is a little hectic with echoing guitars bouncing off ideas from each other without ever being on the same note, focusing on the tremolo synthesized wavelengths to cause comfort with a hesitant vocal approach. ‘Girlfriend’ might be one of the weaker songs however because while the drum pattern keeps it moving it offers no new way to dazzle the listener like other songs have. It’s a song people listen to because it fills the void.

Wolfgang Amadeus ends in a satisfying way with closing song ‘Armistice.’ The drums are ambitious in being a little more offbeat, allowing for the guitars to provide a rather simple rhythm that gets augmented by a great pace. The organ breakdown adds a new flavor of taste to this colorful record, ending with sparkling notes that shimmer as bright as the pink residing on the artwork.