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Sunday 9th of December 2018
Matt Sachs 1306 30th of May 2013 by editor 30th of May 2013
Phoenix - Bankrupt!

Matt Sachs reviews Phoenix's latest album, released on the Atlantic label

Even though the French-based electronic rock band Phoenix have been around since 2000, it wasn’t until nine years later with their fourth release, Wolfang Amadeus Phoenix, that they rose to fame. That album didn’t find the band doing very much different from their previous ones, but it must have been released at the kairotic moment—its dance-inspired indie pop perfectly suited for a generation of indie-seekers looking to dance. While it must be rewarding to be recognized for your achievements so late in a career, it also puts that much more pressure on the follow-up, and Phoenix’s Bankrupt! disappoints. Though the band haven’t made any drastic changes to their sound, the result seems to be less successful. The opener and first single, “Entertainment”, begins with a Chinese-inspired melody on bells, a pulsing drumbeat, and high-pitched plucked guitars before a deep bass comes in on the second verse. On paper, this is the exact description of one of the band’s most popular songs, “1901”, yet from the first few notes it is not nearly as captivating. The title track, “Bankrupt”, starts with a synthetic melody and pulsing bass drum and builds with the slow cresendo of a driving guitar. As the drum cuts out, priming the song for the cathartic drop, Phoenix hit hard incorporating a distorted synthesizer with the force of a jet engine. While the change is unexpected and daring, it ironically does not thrust the song forward, instead leaving it to sputter around in its own wake. Have Phoenix lost their touch? Perhaps, or it could be that, four years after the drastic rise in popularity of electronic music in general and after numerous releases of like-minded bands, we’re all just a little tired of it.

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