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Anthony Carew

From the Vaults Friday: Phoenix, United (2000)

By February 1, 2013

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The Year: 2000
The Album: Phoenix, United
Who it Influenced: PAS/CAL, MGMT, Ra Ra Riot, Princeton, Wildcat! Wildcat!, Tokyo Police Club

Six years before the term 'yacht-rock' would be embraced by the indie canon, and more than a decade before Indie Rock's Year of the Saxophone, the first flickerings of a Smooth Music revival would arrive, most unexpectedly, in a crew of French gents from Versailles, France.

Dealing in the then-impossibly-uncool memories of '70s AM Radio types like Todd Rundgren, 10cc, Steely Dan, et al, Phoenix summoned a mythical Americana that no actual American artist —save, maybe, for Jim O'Rourke— seemed interested in referencing back at the turn of the millennium.

Blessed with borderline-perfect pop-songs like "Too Young," "If I Ever Feel Better," and "On Fire," United became a classic album for a handful of fans. And, slowly, with each successive LP, that handful grew into something far more sizeable. Yet, whilst Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was the album that went Gold and won a Grammy, for many, Phoenix has never been better than on their debut.


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