While a quick glance at a calendar succinctly verifies that, yes, it actually has been four years since the French indie alt-rockers Phoenix unleashed Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the Grammy-winning breakthrough set that scored the band a massive amount of critical acclaim and made them an inescapable blog force, it doesn’t really feel like it. Such is the case when you release an album filled with infinite repeat-able gems–most notably the one-two set-opening punch “Lisztomania” and “1901”–that even hundreds upon hundreds of re-spins later have failed to lose the same crisp, catchy vibrancy that made them insta-favorites way back when.
It’s a bit clever then that for “Entertainment”, the first single from Phoenix’ forthcoming Wolfgang follow-up Bankrupt!, the band would further make the long gap seem like less by issuing out a track that for the most part could have sat in comfortably with the ten cuts found on that preceding album.
Powered by big Asian synth riffs and a clean ’80’s pop/ rock charge that seems to bend and stretch time with its many drum-based tempo-shifts, and, of course, Thomas Mars sweet n’ tender high tenor at the center of it all stuttering and repeating syllables with a child-like giddiness (“D-do you wanna let go?/ Loud volume turns to low low low low low…”), “Entertainment” serves Phoenix at their bright and shimmery usual.
Sure it doesn’t reveal too many new and exciting tricks to separate the two album eras, nor does it feel like a tune that could sustain a years-long hiatus and feel as fresh, but as an accompaniment to both the reality hitting that it has been a long minute since Phoenix have dropped something new and the excitement of a new album now being on the horizon, its comforting dash of the familiar is more than welcome.
Let the Year of Phoenix, Part Deux, begin.
Bankrupt! drops April 22nd.