Phoenix have gone bankrupt! Well, sort of. They are set to release their follow up to 2009’s superb Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, in the form of Bankrupt! Looking to continue the ascent from their fourth album, Bankrupt! very much feels like Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, only with a few new synths and perhaps more of a defined and consistent sound than number four. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was very much an album that hurled the French group into the international spotlight, with the album going gold in multiple countries (including the US).
This album takes you on a roller-coaster ride of sorts, good tracks then bad tracks plague this album. One thing is certain though, this album is absolutely a Phoenix album. The thumping drums, glittery guitars, synths, and the fluttery vocals of Thomas Mars are back again. Entertainment starts the album, a phenomenal track that seems as if the song was influenced by Japanese music (the video also heavily suggests this).
The Real Thing, if anything, calms the album down. As catchy as it is, the vocals are not quite up to par with the surrounding instrumentals. A more relaxing tune from a high energy band. SOS IN Bel Air gets back into typical Phoenix, and sounds slightly similar to the wonderful Lisztomania from their previous album with even more synths (thats right, even more). We now find ourselves at Trying To Be Cool, in my opinion this is the best song the band have ever released. Phoenix tend to be overwhelming with their music, but this song is executed beautifully. Starting off in a more relaxed manor, before caressing you into some nice vocals and dreamy riffs. I have seen various videos of the band playing this live at concerts, and I can see why. A phenomenal track that seems almost like a time machine back to the 80’s.
They did it on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix as well; the completely pathetic and pointless intermission song. Clocking in at around seven minutes, Bankrupt kills all the momentum gained by the first half of the album and turns it into one of those yawns that seems to last forever. SKIP! Luckily this doesn’t cause trouble and the album recovers fairly well from the disappointment of yet another painfully long intermission. Drakkar Noir, Chloroform, Don’t, and Bourgeois power the album towards the stars and into a possible consideration for album of the year. What’s that you say? There is another song? Oblique City ends the album, and at the same time brings the album to a new low. Similar to Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Bankrupt! carries some very heavy baggage and Oblique City is certainly under that category. The band get sloppy, and allow the song to venture too much out of their comfort zone. At times you think they are going to reel it back under control, but they never do. An unfortunate end to the album.
A whisker away from finding itself among this years best.