French pop rock band Phoenix have released a new track, “Winter Solstice,” from their seventh studio album titled “Alpha Zulu.”
Released on 4 November 2022 through Loyauté and Glassnote Records, the album is self-produced by the band.
“Alpha Zulu” is Phoenix’s first album since 2017’s Ti Amo. The singles “Identical”, “Alpha Zulu”, “Tonight”, and “Winter Solstice” preceded the album.
Phoenix began recording the album during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 at the Musée des Arts décoratifs studio, which is located within the Louvre Palace in Paris.
Laurent Brancowitz said the band “felt it would be a fantastic adventure to create something out of nothing” in an empty museum.
Christian Mazzalai said that despite his initial concerns of making something while being surrounded by “too much beauty”, the band “couldn’t stop producing music” and that they wrote “almost all” of Alpha Zulu within the first 10 days.
The album was inspired by Philippe Zdar of the band Cassius, who died in 2019. Zdar produced three of Phoenix’s albums.
The song “Identical” was first released in 2020 on the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s film On the Rocks.
Following the song’s release, frontman Thomas Mars stated that it “goes in a different sonic direction from the LP”, which feels “all over the place” and like the “same sort of weird Frankenstein of an album” that the band’s debut United is.
The version of “Identical” released in 2020 has a duration of 3:13, while the listed length of the Alpha Zulu version is 5:02.
The inspiration for the title came from Mars hearing “alpha zulu” over an airplane radio during a bout of turbulence.
The words come from the ICAO alphabet, also known as the NATO phonetic alphabet; Alpha would phonetically be used for the letter A, and Zulu for the letter Z.