Sound — 7
Fundamentally, The Phoenix Foundation are neo-folk rockers with progressive country aspects contoured by synth-pop psychedelics. Their music is a crossbreed of The Apples In Stereo and The Cure coagulating neo-psychedelic tones with space rock atmospheres and folk-pop rhythms. The sextet hail from Wellington, New Zealand and formed in 1997 with core members Samuel Flynn Scott (singer/guitars), Luke Buda (singer/guitars/keyboards), and Conrad Wedde (guitars/keyboards). Over the years they added a rhythm section with Richie Singleton (melodica/drums), Will Ricketts (percussions), and Warner Emery (bass) which gave their songs grooves and melodic mobility. The breezy acoustic-pop harmonies on Sister Risk and The Charming Van fashion crisscrossing vocal melodies with the rustic vocal registers of Buda and Scott. Space rock creations like Let Me Die A Woman and St. Kevin have underlining folk rhythms and shimmying tambourine flourishes. The neo-folk strumming of The Swarm has a Bright Eyes reflection and the bucolic country-folk frequencies of Sally are comfy and aurally sweet, reminiscent of Belle And Sebastian. The band also dabbles into Latin flavors on the acoustic-pop sunbeams of Celebrate and riveting roots rock patinas on Going Fishing. Bruiser is an oddball in the collection with a vocoder echo riding along the neo-folk successions. The country-folk ballads Lambs and Wildlife conclude the album with a peaceful dream-pop aura reflective of the sun going down after dusk.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrical phrases are romantic and have an earthy feel. Carnal thoughts are portrayed in metaphors like in the song Going Fishing when Buda and Scott sing, Sweet little girl I've been thinking/ I bet you know what I thought/ You and me we were going fishing. And it's hard to see us sinking/ When we're light enough to float/ And I'm done with all this thinking/ I just can't wait for us to go/ I sing you songs/ I write you letters/ We both know I'm not very strong/ The tide is out but I can see it's coming in/ And I just can't wait for you to show/ Cause it's hard to see us sinking when we're light enough to float/ And I'm done with all this thinking/ I just can't wait for us to go fishing.
Overall Impression — 7
The songs are relatable to daily lives, mirroring the stages that relationships face and need to overcome. The songs are descriptive of how people connect and provide a bucolic easiness about them. The Phoenix Foundation have found a niche for their music as they have written the score to the upcoming film Eagle vs. Shark directed by Taika Waititi and features Jemaine Clement, a member of the Australian comedic duo Flight of the Conchords. The band's website thephoenixfoundation.co.nz also shows video footage of the band and their mp3's.