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United (Vinyl)
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Performer Notes
  • Phoenix: Deck D'Arcy, Laurent Brancowitz, Thomas Mars, Jr., Christian Mazzalai.
  • Additional personnel: Junior Carrera (guitar); Eddie Efira (pedal steel); Sandrine Longuet (harp); Hugo Ferran (saxophone); Andrew Crocker (trumpet); Patrick Sherlock (trombone); Camile Baz Baz (Hammond organ); Jean Phillipe Dary, Rob (Clavinet); Thomas Bangalter, Pedro Winter (synthesizer); Marlon (drums); Cubain (percussion); Julia, Oliza (background vocals); The Love Choral Society, The Arcysian Vocal Ensemble, The Hector Berlioz Choir.
  • The 2000 debut from the French band Phoenix gleefully combines the electronic-laced melodicism of their fellow countrymen Air with the sensibilities of 1980s UK pop (in the mode of China Crisis and Prefab Sprout) and imbues the results with a dance-floor sensibility. Toss in a bit of classic '70s stadium rock and tongue-in-cheek country, and you have UNITED, a Frankenstein's monster of a record, guaranteed to have something to please nearly any ear.
  • Vocalist Thomas Mars's fey, thickly accented singing lends an appealing vulnerability that is most evident on the record's most infectious track, the glass-smooth "Too Young" (which was handpicked by Sofia Coppola for inclusion in her 2003 film, LOST IN TRANSLATION). "If I Ever Feel Better" recalls an edgier version of the slick funk-pop of Level 42, while "Party Time," is a two-minute would-be punk rave-up. The riskiest track, the nine-minute "Funky Squaredance," opens with a loping vocoder-treated verse, only to morph into a dance number punctuated by heavy-metal guitar breaks. Capped off by cover art mimicking a hard-rock LP circa 1984, UNITED makes musical schizophrenia a true asset.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (10/26/00, p.114) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Pure genius....leaving some fantastic impressions..."

Spin (10/00, pp.176-7) - 7 out of 10 - "...They've got diverse record collections they've dissected down to the runoff grooves, employ vintage analog toys, and shift between sincerity and irony like a scratch DJ flipping a cross-fader..."

CMJ (9/18/00, p.23) - "...Dance-rock inspired by '80s club culture. Feel-good pop hooks, bouncy lyrics and lush textures are held together by keen production work..."

Mojo (Publisher) (7/00, p.114) - "...A highly perplexing yet curiously compelling outing that sounds like a random dip into any FM station circa 1986....Rock on."
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