FAME Review: The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo
The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo


The Phoenix Foundation

Memphis Industries - MI0170CD

Available from The Phoenix Foundation's Bandcamp page.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

No, the Phoenix Foundation isn't some aggregate of rich fucks and has-been celebs huckstering you in telethons purporting to build rest homes for disadvantaged aging brain lice, it's a dream-pop outfit incorporating distant echoes of weird folk, lushed-out elements of prog, and infectious grooves to create a CD that's both calming and energizing. Buffalo is one of these discs where you can't decide upon sitting back, lighting a joint, smiling gauzily, or jumping up to dance and run around the room. I say do 'em all and trim away the ambivalence for a bit of euphoria.

The sextet hails from New Zealand but has already caught major ears in venues like The Guardian, The Times, and The Independent. Not hard to see why, especially when Flock of Hearts billows a pastorale of layering clouds and angels to suddenly have a Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy (Eno) guitar erupt and illuminate the milieu. None of this is for a moment threatening, and the entire affair has the oddest tang of Brian Wilson meeting the late-era Beatles to talk about the Hollies and Paul Simon while listening to Pink Floyd and Radiohead…or maybe it's just that the radio dial keeps jumping dimensions.

Wonton is another great example of how these gents tend to surprise. In the middle of an A-Ha/Icehouse mellifluous build-up, a simple but highly effective Kraftwerkian synthline drops by for a spot of tea and biscuits, bopping about like a free spirit before leaving through the back door to chat with the neighbors. Through it all, though, the pleasant homogeneity of the music's flow is narcotic, grandiloquent, Proust in a good mood walking down misty Thomas Kinkade lanes to visit all and sundry, here in an abbotry, there in a rose garden, elsewhere through sweeping vistas shrouded in lace and embroidery. Somewhere in the background, though, lurks an alien eating ice cream and muttering "I knew I shoulda taken that left at Albequirky!"

Track List:

  • Eventually
  • Buffalo
  • Flock of Hearts
  • Pot
  • Bitte Bitte
  • Skeleton
  • Orange & Mango
  • Bailey's Beach
  • Wonton
  • Golden Ship
All songs written by The Phoenix Foundation.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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