Phoenix is a seemingly cool band. They just ooze confidence in their music and live sets. Here on their sixth album Ti Amo, the Parisian four-piece seemingly rest on these cool laurels that has made them favourites worldwide, while not really progressing all that much as a band.
While the band are notable and proud French nationals, this album speaks more about a broader Mediterranean Europe, and more specifically their fantasised concept of Italy. While I’m no expert on either France or Italy, Ti Amo on a whole reminds me so much of the Italy I remember from a booze and sun-filled holiday I took in 2015. Sleek European nightclub feels and synth takes the lead here on Ti Amo, as Phoenix continually moves away from their most accessible (and arguably best) release in 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Where their previous albums were traditional rock with a synth influence, Ti Amo is the inverse, with hints of disco for good measure. If I had to compare the contents of Ti Amo to anything from previous Phoenix releases, it’s a sloppy replica of the Bankrupt single “Drakkar Noir”.
Lead single “J-Boy” is that near downbeat single bands release to entice listeners to tune in, without giving away all of the secrets from the album. The synth hook does however get a little annoying as it continues through out the entirety of the track. The titular “Ti Amo” is seemingly the Phoenix you’ve come to expect; there isn’t a lot of risks taken here. Much like “Ti Amo”, “Tuttifrutti” is quite bland, treading much the same path that they’ve been on for quite a while.
The standouts of the album are “Fleur De Lys” and “Telephono”. “Fleur De Lys” is the track that will be included on some European fragrance or car ad, whilst also being just as likely to feature in a DJ set this weekend. The vocals of frontman Thomas Mars are at their most smooth and transparent on “Telephono”, as it tries to tie together the loose ends of an album that frankly has way too many dead ends.
While Ti Amo definitely has some noteworthy moments on it, there are too many parts that just seem to lack any specific reason for being on the album. Sure, there are times where you think Ti Amo is about to take off, but just as you’re gaining faith the Frenchmen have found form, you’re severely let down by what follows. Ti Amo is an album that’s equal parts exciting and run-of-the-mill. Sadly, unlike Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, you won’t be listening to it years after its release.
Review Score: 5.9 out of 10.
Ti Amo is out now.