Phoenix are back following a long awaited return after their 2009 breakout album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The album and the universal success of the single, Lisztomania, propelled them into the mainstream music market and the band have received a loyal following since, headlining legendary music festival Coachella in the past month.
The new album, Bankrupt! follows a similar vein as the last. The French four piece have carried on the theme of the melodic vocals and heavy use of synths, yet while producing equally catchy and mainstream friendly songs.
The album is a safe venture for the band. However fans of previous records won’t be left disappointed. The album begins stronger than it ends, with the first four tracks Entertainment, The Real Thing, S.O.S in Bel Air and Trying to be Cool the stand out tracks from the record as a whole, all embodying the upbeat, summery vibe that the band is notorious for, while retaining their distinctiveness as individual songs.
However, as you delve deeper into the album some of the songs have a tendency to either try and incorporate too many tempo changes (title track, Bankrupt! is a prime example of such) or fall into the trap of all sounding a bit too similar, a prominent risk for a band with such a distinctive sound.
Bankrupt!, although far the most ambitious track from the record, falls flat, attempting to incorporate far too many elements, and feels quite unsettled and disjointed throughout the seven minutes until reaching the vocals five minutes in. Already devout fans of the band’s previous records won’t be left disappointed; new listeners might find the whole album ever so slightly repetitive.
Once passed off as The Strokes wannabes, Phoenix have upped the synths on this record and shown that they truly are carving their own niche of melodic indie-pop.