Alibi V.18 No.17 • April 23-29, 2009 

Sonic Reducer

Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2)

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The world could use more of many things—truffles, fresh water, flowers, yetis, helium, French pop songs—and thankfully Phoenix, from Versailles, France, will do its part to fill the void by releasing studio album No. 4 in May. Aside from one track sounding like music for a South Florida speedboat chase featuring Don Johnson, the pompously titled Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix generally presents bittersweet synth-rock—une bonne chose. (JCC)

Silversun Pickups Swoon (Dangerbird Records)

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Like a team returning from a championship season, Silversun Pickups doesn’t want to mess with what works. On its second full-length, the Los Angeles four-piece decides instead to add depth with some minor tinkering. The group already knows how to shake its soda can of shoegaze until the fizzy bubbles explode. But, until now, the band was hesitant to stick with one song part for very long. On Swoon, small but noticeable changes in a guitar figure or an unhurried buildup keep things engaging without having to completely alter chords or tempo. Densely packed but light and fluffy to the touch, Swoon avoids the sophomore-album-slump with polish and poise. (SM)

(JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr, (SM) Simon McCormack