Carpark North

Phoenix

Written by: PP on 01/02/2014 18:15:01

Carpark North was on the lips of everyone in Denmark for a while during mid 2000s thanks to a couple of chart-topping, pop rock albums driven by extravagant soundscapes, electronic samples, and of course radio-friendly songwriting that at the same time received way too much crap for its simplicity than was necessary. They've never tried to be more than a pop rock band, so why not take it at face value? That's been my approach with "Phoenix", which is their fourth full-length album and first new material in six years (2010's "Lost" was just re-recordings of the first three albums for an international release). And that is exactly what you find on "Phoenix": large-scale pop rock songs aiming for the stars, epic soundscapes that rival Coldplay's "Mylo Xyloto" in their grandeur and stadium-sized reach.

But despite its superfluous surface and Carpark North's brazen attitude for writing strict pop songs with little regard to artistic integrity, depth, and that sort of thing, "Phoenix" sounds surprisingly fresh and contains enjoyable radio rock songs that'll likely have you going crazy by the end of the year for the sheer amount of rotation they're destined to receive in the Danish radio landscape. You won't find many better pop rock songs in 2014 than "Renegade", for instance, a gigantic stadium-filler with a chorus that absolutely demands a mass sing-along. "Copenhagen", another highlight on the album, is ultra simple in its "Co-pen-haaageeeen" pop chorus with electronic backdrop, but it's also irresistible. Try avoid singing along to this one, and that's a serious challenge, by the way.

The album also features a number of guest collaborations. Alphabeat's Stine Bramsen features on "32", for instance, and her soulful pop melody in the chorus works well here. Søren Dahl Jeppesen is featured on "Just Like Me", but perhaps the most interesting collaboration is on "You're My Fire", which features a fully fledged hip-hop cameo by Nik & Jay. The key word here is collaboration, so it's not just a passage or a verse they are copy/pasted on top like is often otherwise the case, rather than a complete blend from start to finish suggesting the song was written together with the two groups.

"Phoenix" should of course be nowhere near to be found on any serious music critic's end-of-year lists, mostly because it lacks depth (and subsequently, longevity) in terms of songwriting no matter what angle you approach it from. That, however, does not mean it's a bad album. For simplistic pop rock, Carpark North do a very good job at delivering a solid album's worth of great radio-rockers, with few anonymous or bland tracks included. "Phoenix" is going to be the biggest rock album produced in Denmark in 2014, so you might as well hop on the wagon right away.

Download: Copenhagen, Renegade
For the fans of: Coldplay, Dune, Keane, Klaxons
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.01.2014
Copenhagen Records / Universal Music

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