In the 17 years since their potent first album, United, Phoenix have lost some of their exuberance. These days, as Ti Amo, their sixth set, illustrates, the French quartet favour adult-oriented synth-rock over the fluid powerpop that made their name. But while Ti Amo is slow to reveal its charms, there are moments when the cheesy concept – a romanticised version of Italy – is made to seem like a brilliant idea. Tuttifrutti, one of several references to food, is nimble and calls to mind sun-drenched foreign climes, while the airy Fior di Latte flaunts its reverence for dream-pop, suggesting another reinvention is in the offing.
Paul Mardles is a subeditor on the Observer New Review