A bit of a geographic rarity, the “glitter and gold” threesome hailing from Monte Carlo, Monaco entered into the scene last year. Their debut LP, the self-titled PhÃ¨dre,
exhibits immense purpose and altogether formulates a sound that is accessible and enlivening.
“APHRODITE” starts subtly, a mix of organ and waves crashing on the beach; when the beat drops, its lurching, sometimes random procession is odd enough to work. “COLD SUNDAY” features an aggressive beat, shadowy synth, sounding a lot like a mix of Cut Copy’s ambiance and Kid Cudi’s husky vocals. “ODE TO THE SWINGER”, “IN DECAY”, and “DREAMS” move forward with the same quick succession, and while the beats are indeed infectious and pleasant, PhÃ¨dre as a group aren’t innovators but rather appropriators.
They take the best of international electronica – or rather the best of electronica and indie music from the past few years – and fuse it with specialized inserts and tidbits, with dystopic and ghostly vocals. The result is something that isn’t necessarily original, but it blends in with the rest because its production indeed has character. Their image, one of three men nestled in furs and drenched in their own import, is fantastical and intriguing — if only it hadn’t been done before, and done well, i.e. MGMT. The fault of PhÃ¨dre is that they’re immersed in an electronic scene that needs and breeds novelty, and while the majority of their debut effort is notable, the band will need more than gimmicks to prove their true worth in gold.
As ending tracks, “LOVE ABLAZE” and “GLITTER ON HER FACE” are unfortunate afterthoughts, dropping the lively nature of the album’s beginning for a low-key sound that emulates but does not quite capture Glass Candy and Crystal Castles. While the album as a whole can provide a generally good listen, it may collect dust in just a month’s time.
Essential Tracks: “APHRODITE”, “COLD SUNDAY”, “IN DECAY”