I like Phoenix Foundation. I liked their Pegasus album and I liked their Buffalo album. And I love Fandango. They deserve even wider recognition and credit for this album.
It's hard to describe where this album sits in the Phoenix Foundation portfolio. It's far more poppy and accessible in many ways than their previous efforts but there's enough tangents and curveballs thrown in to make it varied and interesting. Comparisons have been made with Pink Floyd but I have no idea why as I don't see (hear) those! If I had to make a comparison I'd say it sounds VERY China Crisis from the 80s. And that's a compliment.
Does it need to be a double album? I don't think so. It's not that there's any filler on either disc but I will admit the final track on disc 2 (Friendly Society) is 17 minutes of pure indulgence to the band. However, across both discs are simply great pop songs with staying power and not like some pop songs have a short shelf-life.
Overall it's a comfortable 5 stars and a big thank you to guys from New Zealand for making one of the best albums, so far, of 2013. I hope they get more success. They deserve it and you deserve this album in your collection.
I came upon The Phoenix Foundation by accident some time ago, and very quickly began to like their music very much. My judgement was confirmed when I read a review of one of their albums in The Sunday Times which lavished praise, saying, we don't have anyone this good around here right now (in England). This album is no exception. Disc one is great, but, and here's the surprise, disc two is even greater. What amazing talent from such a tiny country!
Extraordinary music from a unique collection of artists - an appropriate moniker for a collection that clearly don't consider the conventional an option when putting together an album. Subtle, sophisticated, and at times soaring tracks are in abundance in what is both the Phoenix Foundations most poppy album to date, and its least commercial (unless you can think of another 20min track that gets radio airplay...).
Very impressed with this Lp. Although I enjoyed previous Lp 'Buffalo', there were a few tracks that didn't grab me and overall the band didn't excite. All that's changed with this release - this double Lp being packed with superb indie-pop with psychedelic undertones. I love the production, too. Synths are to the fore, and although they can sometimes give an 'eighties' feel to a track such as 'Captain', they never detract from the song or sound cheesy. The great production makes it sound big and shiny in an intelligent left-field pop kind of way. Okay, I could maybe do without the 17-minute final track, or at least cut it down to a manageable size, but this speaks to their ambition and vision and they shouldn't be criticised for that. Throughout this wonderful Lp the tasteful bass lines propel the whole thing forward, giving it great momentum that it never really loses. One of the best Lps of the year so far.
A real departure from the style of their previous albums which I was not really sure about to start with. However with repeated plays it has grown on me considerably. There are definitely 70's and 80's influences at play and the Pink Floyd one I have heard mentioned is quite accurate. However to take the record on its own merits without the aforementioned reference points I feel the mix of several different musical styles reaps dividends. The opening track is one that I find difficult to get out of my head and most of the others have a way of leaving you wanting more. The music has a particular comforting feel to it with the lead singers relaxed, languid but assured voice helping to create a mellow 'blissed out' atmosphere. Synths are fairly prominent throughout. This is a lengthy recording over 2 discs and the only slight criticism is the inordinate length of the final track which lasts for some 17 - 18 mins but still has its merits. Particular favourites (other than Black Mould which I have previously referred to) at the moment are Inside me dead and Morning Riff but overall another enjoyable offering from a fine NZ band. Also a good live act if you get the chance to see them on their current tour.
This is a fantastic album, and dare I say it, the best offering yet from The Phoenix Foundation. I discovered them a while ago when they did the soundtrack for Eagle Vs. Shark, but they've just gotten better and better over the course of the last two albums. This album is a bit of a departure from the original sound they used to have, and I have to say it's a great improvement when you compare their first album. Fandago is chilled and sunny, for the most part upbeat, and with some songs which have quickly become firm favourite. The less upbeat songs are nearly always beautiful, Thames Soup being my favourite. While a couple of songs could be said to be a bit self indulgent, they're certainly atmospheric. Well worth a listen.