Phoenix: French Pop Arrives on U.S. Shores

Band Hopes for N. American Breakthrough with CD 'Alphabetical'

Cover for the Phoenix CD 'Alphabetical'

hide captionCover for the Phoenix CD Alphabetical (Astralwerks 2004)

Day to Day producer Christopher Johnson reports on top French pop-rock band Phoenix, a group hoping to make inroads in the U.S. with their CD Alphabetical.

French band Phoenix's latest CD is 'Alphabetical'

hide captionFrench band Phoenix's latest CD is Alphabetical

Courtesy Astralwerks Records

The band is already big in Europe, but got its first introduction to American audiences when director Sophia Coppola used their song "Too Young" for the soundtrack to her acclaimed film Lost in Translation.

Phoenix is not an "overnight success." The members of the group — who have been playing together for nearly a decade — tell Johnson they grew up listening to American and English pop music. That's why all the songs on Alphabetical are sung in English, explains guitarist Christian Mazzalai. "We chose the best language to fit our music, and to reach more people."

Music critics laud the sincerity of the group's songs, and note the hints of classic rock and blue-eyed soul in Alphabetical — the subtle nods to Steely Dan or Hall & Oates, for example. This fall, Phoenix will launch its first-ever major American tour.

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