Released on April 23, French pop band Phoenix is yet another band to make a long awaited comeback from 2009’s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” (Is it just me, or is anyone else becoming slowly bothered by how long these artists have been leaving us hanging lately?) with “Bankrupt!” (Glassnote Records).
Comprised of 10 songs, the album is quite reflective of their previous album. Its short length allows Phoenix to showcase what they’re good at, and that is this sort of “pop flair” characteristic of synth keyboards with high note riffs that lie low in the back of your mind for hours afterword. With these songs, I normally don’t necessarily remember certain lyrics well, but I definitely remember those riffs that make me, and most likely everyone else who has listened to the album by now, want to simply get up and dance.
As far as variety goes, there is not much in this album. There is no experimentation, no loud and confusing noises. It essentially sounds like one long Phoenix pop song. It’s truly up to the listener, however, whether or not that is a good thing. You certainly have to be in the right mindset to listen to it. On the other hand, the album’s title track, “Bankrupt!” plays a little with the idea of musical interludes; the song is a relatively long break from the high energy compilation of the first five songs, leading later to a video game-esque instrumental that, I will admit, left me a little confused before moving onto the next track cleverly titled, “Drakkar Noir.” Great product placement, right?
The two songs that I would recommend skipping straight to are “Entertainment,” the album’s single, and “S.O.S in Bel Air.” There is something about “Entertainment” that makes you feel like the band put the most heart into it — fitting for it to be the band’s single off the album at least. For those of you who are interested, the music video for “Entertainment” (you can check it out on the home screen of their official website) consists of the band doing a somewhat acoustic set of the song whilst a dog of wanders around the screen throughout its duration. It’s eccentric and entertaining, to say the least.
“S.O.S. in Bel Air” has a breakdown in the chorus that seems to motivate you as lead singer Thomas Mars repeats, “You can’t cross the line/ but you can’t stop trying.” It’s a mash of the synth keyboards, guitars and Mars’ high vocal range that make this song worth keeping on repeat.
Overall, if you want to take a step back a few years and ignore the house music that has taken over the radio, give Phoenix and “Bankrupt!” another listen again. The album as a whole is extremely well done, and there is precision and heart in each song, despite the fact that each one may sound a little bit like the last. The band’s choice to stick to its funk and dance synth has made for a popular, demanded and appreciated comeback.
Recommended Only If: You don’t mind the lack of variety.