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Album Review

by Phoenix

Glass Note

Review Date
29th April 2013
Reviewed by
Janine Harrison

Bankrupt! is Phoenix’s 5th album, the first since finally hitting the big time with 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Is the title a sly reference to the EU’s current financial crisis or is it a hint this French band has reached a creative void?

Hard to categorise (are they indie, dance - pop?), it’s never really mattered before but until their last album Phoenix hadn’t been Coachella headliners or Grammy award winners and so could pretty much do what they liked. It really feels on this album that by consciously not rewriting their classic album, they’ve forgotten what it was that made that album such a classic; good songs delivered well. Don’t get me wrong, Bankrupt! is not a bad album. It's very cool and pleasant, but too easy to forget.

First single and opening track “Entertainment” is freakishly similar to 80s pop classic “Japanese Boy” but also pays homage to Bowie’s “China Girl” with its insanely catchy Oriental synth melody. It manages to be completely irritating and amazing at the same time; the hallmark of many a pop classic. “Entertainment” is a massive sound; a bouncy castle of a tune. Thomas Mars and his band wisely opted against maintaining this tempo throughout Bankrupt! so the Synths remain but the mood is decidedly downbeat from here on in. “The fantastically titled “S.O.S in Bel Air” is delightful and “Drakkar Noir” highlights Thomas Mars’ penchant for writing amusing and clever lyrics. But title track “Bankrupt!” meanders for almost 7 minutes with no real direction and “Chloroform” should sound better than it does.

I’m sad to say Bankrupt! is a real hit and miss album; perfectly likeable but not very loveable. Peut mieux faire Phoenix!


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