In which Phoenix get a promotion from 'band BlackPlastic quite digs' to 'one of the most heart-warming band BlackPlastic knows', Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix feels like being 19 and on the verge of something great. It has the same yearning and neediness of fellow French band the Teenagers, just sans the selfishness and the irony. The result is an album that sounds like every night is prom-night and the best day of your life might (just might) be around the corner.
Where previous Phoenix albums maybe lacked a little cohesiveness Wolfgang... confidently delivers, with one sexy, polished, funky feeling running the full course of the album. It never strays as far as (the admittedly great, if slightly bonkers) 'Funky Squaredance' did on United and the result is a classic case of focus trumping variety - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix isn't trying to be a jack of all trades, it's busy enough being the best technicolor-disco-punk-funk album in years.
Which is not to say there is no variety - we've already discussed how great '1901' is but it's worth pointing out that 'Love Like a Sunset' is, in contrast, a beautifully slow-burning Balearic trip, a feeling that builds until it takes over. 'Lasso' is another contrast - blunt like the love you can't keep secret: effervescent and unstable and infectious and totally irresistible.
Phoenix have undoubtebly made the best album of their career so far. It's so damn enthusiastic it would be churlish to ignore it.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out on 25 May 2009.