Phoenix - Ti Amo

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:6 Release Date:2017-06-16

French band Phoenix have not been afraid to tweak their sound with each new album, and this one, the band’s sixth, is no exception. Focusing heavily on synth-driven disco beats, in a sound the band refers to as “Italian summer,” or better explained, their own interpretation of Italian versions of American disco. Makes sense, right? Reflecting the Italian theme, songs have titles like “Tuttifrutti,” “Fior Di Latte,” and “Via Veneto,” and lyrics vacillate unpredictably between English, Italian, and French.

Superficially, which some may claim is the only way to describe disco, Ti Amo is lightweight, but, like a box of candy, mysteries hide beneath the repetitious chocolate veneer, albeit not always in a good way...like discovering there’s coconut inside. Gag.

“J-Boy” starts the party off with a Pet Shop Boys vibe, Thomas Mar’s falsetto sailing over the synth melody like the cherry atop one of the many saccharine offerings on this album. “Tuttifrutti” is Skittles-level addictive and “Ti Amo” practically dares you not to hit the dance floor. “Telefono” is one of the best song on here because it's one of the few songs where guitars are a part of the mix and the focus is on the purity of the pop without the overpowering presence of disco flavor. Prime offender is “Fleur De Lys,” which sounds like one of those Donna Summer orgasms, great if you’re a thirteen-year-old boy, but otherwise? Nope. There are other times as well when the disco synthesizer doesn’t dominate but rather plays a role in the grander scheme (“Fior Di Latte” and “Role Model”).  

There’s no denying the infectious joy emanating from Ti Amo, and it would make a nice addition to a summer mix tape (I mean, since we’re doing the retro thing, and all…). On the other hand, something like disco is akin to using a powerful spice in your cooking – a little goes a long way and can easily overpower everything else. It’s unfortunate that the band didn’t take this into greater consideration. Phoenix may have peaked eight years ago with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but they get props for trying to push their creative and musical boundaries especially with such an upbeat record in these downbeat times. Therefore, they can be forgiven if they overdo it a bit.

 

 

 

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