“I like the rock music,” says Junior. “I just like the song,” says Junior 2. I like the band. ‘Entertainment”s not much more than the tune from the China Garden music box my older sister had when we were younger, turned up to 13, but it’s the kind of rush Phoenix do well. Like the zoom on ‘1901’ and the flight from “…giiiirlfriieeeend” on, yeah, ‘Girlfriend’. That’s all very Phoenix – lovely moments in search of the one great song that’ll have them cherished forever, not just pigeonholed as the hipster’s Gallic hipsters, and I’m not sure they’ve found it yet.
We pooled our knowledge for this one: “They’re from Spain.” “Spain is a very long time.” Getting a bit meta, Junior then sings Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ over the top and claims Polock’s “one, two, three, four, five” is from a song by a girl about “daydreaming”. So far we don’t think she means Kid Sister, Aretha or Massive Attack.
When she eventually gets to hear Phoenix, she’s going to think they’re Polock’s Gallic shrug, a Versailles knock-off of a Valencia original, because – in the most generous terms – they’re peas in a pod. ‘Fireworks’ is Phoenix distilled into one song, melody coursing through every guitar strum, synth wash and bass drop, the production swaddled in that warm, 70s, AOR blanket. If it wasn’t for Papu Sebastián’s Spanish accent, well, you know now. But the tune is so glorious, you can put it all down to shared musical loves.
In the end, ‘Fireworks” sunny rush has Juniors 1, 2 and 3 premiering an audacious mash-up of the Hokey-Cokey and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.
A clean pop single from a group of French funkadelicists, ‘Everything Is Everything’ isn’t the greatest thing committed to wax (this is still the ‘70s, right?), but it’s beautifully arranged, meekly sung, pleasingly juddery and oozes West Coast ease. That’s a lot of boxes ticked if you’re reaching for that Guilty Pleasures aesthetic, and I’m assuming they were.
Junior got into the groove with gusto while her sister chewed the CD case. She seemed to like it – that’s the groover, not the chewer – but when I checked with her she told me, “No. It’s so, so horrible.” Girls are so inscrutable.