Phoenix verabschieden sich von der lupenreinen Hochglanz-Produktion. Zugunsten einer neuen Lockerheit, aber vor allem zu Lasten der Treffsicherheit.

Die Vorfreude war groß: Phoenix hatten mit ihrem letzten Album „Alphabetical“ ein Beinahe-Meisterwerk vorgelegt. Was vor allem an zwei Überhits lag: „Everything Is Everything“ und „Run Run Run“. Den meisten Bands passiert so etwas nie. Bei Phoenix hat es gleich im Doppelpack geklappt: Sie schufen den perfekten Pop-Song – und das gleich zweimal. Allerdings haben sie auch einen hohen Preis dafür gezahlt: Die Aufnahmen zogen sich über anderthalb Jahre hin, die vier Franzosen sahen in dieser Zeit kaum Tageslicht und waren Sklave ihres eigenen Perfektionismus. Das war das eine. Ein wenig betrüblich war nämlich zusätzlich, dass der Rest des Albums auch genau so klang: Nach Selbstdisziplin, nach Knöpfchenschrauben, nach verschlimmbesserter Produktion. So what: So lange es für die beiden Songs gereicht hat, ist es das alles wert gewesen.

Als Phoenix nun vor einem Jahr wieder ins Studio gingen, schienen sie sich daran erinnert zu haben. Nicht an die beiden glänzenden, strahlenden Hits, sondern an die harte Arbeit, an die Zeit in abgedunkelten Räumen, ohne Licht mit zu viel Ton. Also ging man ganz anders an die Produktion heran. Das Ergebnis liegt nun vor. Die erste Single ließ erahnen, wo die Reise hingeht und leider auch, dass der Zug in gewisser Weise schon abgefahren ist. „Long Distance Call“ ist zwar in gewisser Weise catchy, läßt aber den letzten goldenen Schliff vermissen. Und – ja – der Song kann sogar relativ schnell – räusper – auf die Nerven gehen. Vor allem im Refrain. Da ruft Sänger Thomas Mars wieder und wieder „It’s Never Been Like That“. Einmal, zweimal, dreimal, viermal, fünfmal, sechsmal, siebenmal, achtmal. Erst dann geht es in die tatsächlich schön gelungene zweite Passage des Refrains. So als ob er es bis zum Anschlag ausreizen wollte. Ansonsten bietet vor allem die Strophe zum Glück genau das, was man sich so sehr von Phoenix wünscht: Völlig reduzierte Instrumentation, um ein 16tel verschobene Keyboard-Ansätze und eine still und eklektisch vibrierende Gitarre ganz unten, als sei es das Summen des Kühlschranks, das sich nicht ausschalten lässt.

Soviel zur Single. Sie geht also Alles in Allem schon durch. Das Problem nur ist der Rest. Zunächst einmal fällt auf, dass Phoenix ihren Sound auf der langen Strecke verändert haben. Weniger technokratisches Sample-Gefrickel und mehr Gitarrenwände – insgesamt eine wesentlich roughere Produktion. Doch leider bleibt es bei dieser Änderung nicht. Neu ist nämlich auch, dass Phoenix, als ob es ihre volle Absicht sei, bei 70 Prozent der Songs einfach den Refrain weggelassen haben. Da wird sich über eine nicht enden wollende Anzahl von Takten in der Bridge aufgehalten. Und dann plötzlich hüpfen sie zur nächsten Strophe, so dass sich der versierte Hörer verwirrt und verirrt fühlt: War das jetzt der Refrain? Die Bridge? Die Frage bleibt, was sich die Franzosen dabei gedacht haben. Denn eigentlich können sie es doch…

Ihre Brillanz blitzt denn auch an der ein oder anderen Stelle wieder auf. Zum Beispiel im sommerlich-verzückten „One Time To Many“, da läuft die Maschine, da klingt’s geölt, da macht alles Sinn. Auch wenn hier ebenfalls eine fesselnde Hookline fehlt. Das stimmt aber insgesamt wieder recht versöhnlich eigentlich.

Nur dann erlauben sich die Herren gegen Ende des Albums mit dem Instrumental „North“ noch mal eine Frechheit. Ein neverending Gitarrenriff über drei Akkorde. Stolze 5 Minuten lang, Variiert lediglich ein wenig in der Dynamik. Erinnert irgendwie an die Ballade auf dem letzten Daft Punk-Album: Eine kleine 8 sekündige Melodie wurde da einfach 4 Minuten lang geloopt. Das aufregendste war da noch das Ein- und Ausfaden. Schön ist das nicht.

Bewertung: 5/10

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