Ditching their guitars for Casio keyboards, French hipsters Pheonix have crafted a bubbly homage to early ‘80s euro pop with their latest offering, Ti Amo. The album opens strong with the radio-ready head bopper “J-Boy”. From the fizzy opening notes the song bounces to an easy beat punctuated by a shimmering staccato of old-school synth.
In “Ti Amo”, a fun take on sleazy Italian disco, lead singer Thomas Mars’ unctuous croon effortlessly glides over a vulcanized bass groove. Though most of the tracks are driven by – what sound like – dollar store synthesizers, it’s when they crack out their trusty six-strings that the band really shines. For my money, the circular guitar riffs and soaring falsetto featured on “Goodbye Soleil” make it the star of the album, though the luminous “Via Veneto” and the peppy closer “Telefono” get high marks as well.
Ti Amo is a worthy experiment and a decidedly enjoyable romp, but ultimately their best self is their true self. So here’s hoping they use a few more colors in the crayon box the next go around.
Ti Amo is a worthy experiment and a decidedly enjoyable romp, but ultimately their best self is their true self.