The fourth album by Phoenix opens with a track called "Lisztomania" that seems to underscore that the giddy rush of a good pop phenomenon is timeless, whether we're talking about this uber-hip French dance-rock band or the crazed fans who filled orchestra halls to hear Franz Liszt in the 1800s. "A Lisztomania/Think less but see it grow... From the mess to the masses," croons frontman Thomas Mars, a.k.a. director Sofia Coppola's baby daddy. And after three previous disc that paled in comparison to the best of Air, whom Phoenix sometimes backed in concert, the band has finally produced an album that delivers that kind of promised excitement.
With the recent release of "Manners," the debut album by the Boston band Passion Pit, it's shaping up to a great summer for modern updates on synth-heavy '80s disco. If Passion Pit bring a bit more personality and soul to the proceedings, while Mars and company seem like the somewhat aloof Europeans they no doubt are, standout tracks such as "Lisztomania," "1901" and "Lasso" nonetheless deliver inspired grooves and memorable melodies, while more trance-like interludes such as "Love Like a Sunset" (parts one and two) evoke a combination of Roxy Music circa "Avalon" and the band's mentors in Air, and that's not a bad thing at all.