Album: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Label: V2 Records
Perhaps the best way to describe Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is gleeful. Even with the potentially-ominous bombs pictured on the album's cover, the pink and blue coloring is what tells the real story. On their fourth album, the French band has seemingly found itself a niche, albeit in an increasingly crowded field, but a niche nonetheless. Their catchy brand of dance punk and indie caught the ear of everyone, spanning from the indie community to car commercials. In a year when indie music grabbed more market share and exposure than ever before, Phoenix somehow pushed itself near the front of the pack.
Everything about Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is bright. From lead singer Thomas Mars' enthusiastic vocals, to the bouncy electronic beats pulsing in the background, to the peppy guitar riffs in the forefront, the album seems to scream a certain youthful exuberance. It's glad to be here, and unpretentious about the fact. Even slower, more toned-down songs like "Fences" still manage to have you at least tapping your foot, if not dancing it out with the rest of the listening public. The fact of the matter is that it's an infectious, enjoyable record, with tons of repeatability-- a simple truth one can easily surmise by the end of "1901," if not opener "Lisztomania." With even the likes of Passion Pit and Animal Collective finding it good enough to remix, that may just say it all.
[Previously on Animal Noises: Best Albums of 2009: #25, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse's Dark Night of the Soul]