The Phoenix Foundation: Happy Ending
By Shaun Chait
For some time now, The Phoenix Foundation have been making some of the most relevant music coming out of this country. Sometimes quietly affecting (Burning Wreck),elsewhere a full-
blown and triumphant soundscape, their knack of combining understatement with grandiose splendor (witness the majestic chorus of Irrelevant Noise) is a defining quality. The double whammy of friends ‘album of the year’ calls coupled with the knowledge that most bands don’t get better with age had me wondering with trepidation how ‘Happy Ending’ would outdo its hefty predecessor ‘Pegasus’. However the bright and breezy quirky pop of opener Bright Grey (and the fast following highlight 40 Years) quickly confirmed this as at least an equal. A dreamy, and dare I say, sunnier outing, it resonates with the ghosts of Radiohead, Damon Albarn, and Shayne Carter, coupled with the whimsical genius of Split Enz (especially on Pure Joy). As expected given their love of a full sound, strings and guest backing vocalists are put to good use. The choice of usual suspect Lee Prebble (who recorded, mixed and produced) teamed with Howie Weinberg (mastering) makes for another winning combination .