Album Review: Phoenix - Bankrupt!

15 May 2013 | 8:28 am | Claire Moore

Bankrupt is Phoenix’s most polished release to date.

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Bankrupt, the title of the new album from Phoenix, is probably a deceptive title given that it is an album rich in storytelling, morals and punchy hooks. If fans of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix were expecting more of the same from the French rock-pop darlings, they will be surprised. Bankrupt is an energetic album that sees Phoenix trade in their snappy, off-beat sound to venture into the alluring realm of crowd-pleasing pop. The album experiments with electronics, giving it a smoother, more velvety feel than Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

The lyrics are thought provoking, brilliant and one of the best things about Bankrupt. Phoenix use the album as a medium to describe and explore the perils that come with fame, the pretentious nature of show business, money and all things superficial. This theme is consistent throughout the entire album, from the opener Entertainment, to the fantastically titled SOS In Bel Air to Drakkar Noir (the name of an acrid aftershave). However, not all the lyrics are focused on warnings. Thomas Mars manages to spike his messages with some frivolous lyrical content: “In the jangle jungle/Jingle junkie/Juggle juggle me” (Drakkar Noir). His descriptions are creative and insightful – “Mint julep testosterone” (Trying To Be Cool), “formal with feathery eyes” (Bankrupt) – and lighten what would otherwise be a sobering insight into the world of fame.

Bankrupt is Phoenix's most polished release to date. However, the irony of it is that it's a reflection of the experiences and fame that accompanied the success of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, yet its creation is sure to plunge the band further into the shiny world of show business that they are referring to.