Phoenix

Alphabetical/United

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In 2005, EMI combined Phoenix's first two albums -- 2001's United and 2004's Alphabetical -- into one two-disc package and retailed the set at a price slightly less than what you'd pay if you bought them individually. There are no new bonus items to suck in those who already own the albums, which is respectable on the part of EMI, but it's bizarre that the label would do this so soon after Alphabetical's original release. Regardless of how you obtain them, you'll have two rather different albums (United being slapdash but rarely dull, Alphabetical being consistent but occasionally too lulling) from some of France's craftiest pop synthesists.

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