I used to have a really great, satisfying hatred of this band, just for being so flavorless and mediocre in its eccentricities and joyless dance-pop derivativeness, but I have to say, “It’s Never Been Like That” has stuck with me, the band’s most straight-forward “rock” record so far and, so far as I can tell, the only one that shouldn’t make you nauseous. The artful nature of the new record catches you off guard. It’s not all pulsing dance beats matched with fun pop lyrics and French-disco bitchiness—it’s more melodic this time, thought-through, not recklessly thrown together for the sake of being strange. Phoenix’s “Everything is Everything” reached audiences through HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” and as popular as that song is, to me it sounds like the worst of the boys bands, like a b-side to a 95 Degrees single. “It’s Never Been Like That” plays like it has no memory, something new and improved, fresh and original. (Tom Lynch)
July 28 at Double Door.