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Just back to Nashville after 5 months in the Orient, I've seen at least one show every day, sometimes two or three. Yesterday at 6 p.m. at Grimey's (our coolest record store) I saw a red hot 20 minute in-store appearance by some French yutes called Phoenix.

So dynamic, deeply musical, very joyous and funky. Tore the roof off the joint, and seemed to be having a big time themselves. Packed with teens and early twentiers. Electric bass and drums, but both guitarists had acoustics plugged into pedal boards and were playing all the funky parts you hear on the clips. Three days later, and I'm still running it through in my mind--got blasted right outta my seat.

Listening to an NPR interview with the band from last year, guitarist Christian Mazzalai makes obvious the high esteem in which the players hold American music, especially the 80s scene, but including Delta Blues and folk, and the proposed influences of Steely Dan and Hall & Oates and other blue-eyed soul sources is palpable, and credible, in these hands.

It's a real band. Played together for a decade, since they were kids. Vocalist Thomas Mars and bassist Deck D'Arcy were living and playing in the Paris suburbs with Christian Mazzalai, whose older brother Laurent Brancowitz later joined the group when his band Darlin disbanded in '95. All the songs are composed by the group as a whole. All the photos in the black and white CD art are equipment close-ups: speakers, patch bays, bass pickups, a typewriter. Love these guys.

Their first American break came when their song "Too Young" made it on to the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. They've also made waves as the backing group for the French electronic duo Air.

Unless your soul is on ice or your groove is out of commission, the opening measure of the irresistible "Everything is Everything" will shop vac you into Phoenixville, and then the beauty and the spirit of this group will stick in your ear like a diamond stud. These guys are gonna have hit records like Maroon 5 in a minute. But before that happens and their concerts fill up with pre-teens, the wonder of their wonder is here for the rest of us to enjoy.

All that's just a little story line for you to go with to enjoy the clips on this fantastic French band. They tell the real story, and we think you're gonna like it--we did, a lot.
• Frank Goodman

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wearephoenix.com      astralwerks.com

an npr interview with the band

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