French electronic rockers Phoenix have returned with their first new music in nearly two years with the dancefloor-ready single ‘Alpha Zulu’.
“To me, I’m so scared of flying that it sounds like Mayday when I heard this the first time. Like, ‘Alpha Zulu, Alpha Zulu, going down.’ And so I guess it stuck with me, and it came out in a strange way in the studio,” lead singer Thomas Mars explained in an interview with Apple Music. “The way we make music is so… It’s really collaborative, and it’s almost like therapy, kind of. And I don’t know what we just did, but also the sense of time felt really strange because we worked on this for a long time during the pandemic.”
Featuring a looser and more spontaneous style than the normally tightly-controlled Phoenix of the past, ‘Alpha Zulu’ still has the indie pop brightness and hooky sensibilities that make the band so well-loved. Credit where credit is due as well: ‘Alpha Zulu’ is in and out in under three minutes. Not that it couldn’t have been extended a bit, but Phoenix definitely leave you wanting more.
According to Mars, ‘Alpha Zulu’ is the first preview of what will eventually be Phoenix’s seventh studio album. That will make it the band’s first in half a decade after their most recent studio album, Ti Amo, came out all the way back in 2017. Mars seems hesitant to call the new LP the band’s “pandemic record”, however.
“I guess every album that came out recently is a pandemic record, more or less,” Mars explains. “They all have to be linked to this weird moment in life. I’m not sure when we started, when we stopped, how long we stopped for. But at some point when we were seeing the end of the tunnel, not only the pandemic, sort of, at least we could think, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a tour.’ That was going to be a possibility of this record coming out then. Then it clicked, and all the joyful pieces that we were hoping for, came together and made this record. And you use that time of self-reflection, and you use it, it comes out in the music. So I guess all that time spent not doing anything is somehow coming out on this record. It does something to you.”
Check out the audio for ‘Alpha Zulu’ down below.