Thursday, June 09, 2005

the phoenix foundation - pegasus [album review]

[Capitol]
*****

The long awaited follow up from Wellington six-piece The Phoenix Foundation surpasses the already high hopes surrounding its release. Pegasus is an even more varied take on indie-pop and alt-country than its predecessor, traversing a huge variety of styles and tones throughout its 40 minutes. While tracks like “Through the Woods” explore somber, autumnal terrain, others such as the first single “Damn the River” ooze energy. “Cars of Eden” is a seven-minute-long multi instrument, synth-driven voyage into the most poignant depths of New Zealand’s landscape.

A successful progression and growth from their debut Horsepower is evident in most areas of the album. The lyrics are just terrific – the wittiness of their debut is furthered with a more mature take on songwriting, and an unassuming New Zealand accent gives a sense of humility and personality. It constantly strives for beauty, mood, and experimentation, and is always successful. The overall aesthetic is very organic, and could easily suit any seasonal climate.

The five stars awarded to Pegasus are certainly not in any way linked to the band’s New Zealand heritage. Although Pegasus will undoubtedly garner a lot of attention because of this mere fact, this is one of the few New Zealand albums of the past year that genuinely deserves the praise. It’s clearly a work of genius, regardless of its origin. Pegasus can easily stand alone as an indisputably brilliant album.

- Richard MacFarlane