Like their forefathers Split Enz, the Phoenix Foundation hails from New Zealand, and first made it big in their homeland, before setting their sights on other territories. They already have released a pair of albums back home (2004's Horsepower and 2005's Pegasus), played such renowned New Zealand festivals as the Big Day Out, and even have their own record label. For their U.S. debut, the sextet opted to reissue Horsepower two years after its initial release. Specializing in often-fragile sounding alt rock, early Coldplay immediately comes to mind, especially on such tracks as "Let Me Die a Woman" and "The Swarm," on which singer/guitarist Samuel Flynn Scott does pretty nifty Chris Martin impersonations. You could say the tempo and feel of Horsepower is, for the most part, quite mopey, as evidenced by the atmospheric "St. Kevin" and the album opener, "Sister Risk." But towards the end of the album, the clouds dissipate momentarily on "Going Fishing." While it may be a bit too reminiscent of Coldplay in certain areas, Horsepower manages to show that the Phoenix Foundation does hold promise -- check back with these lads next album to see if they've harnessed it.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato