Hailing from Versailles, France, Phoenix is a alternative rock band that continuously make new and interesting music since 1999. Rising to popularity in 2009 with their fourth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, the album went gold in the United States, Canada, Australia, and was filled with instant hits such as “1901.” In their most recent album, Bankrupt!, Phoneix returns with their charming melodies and catchy vocals, the band seems to return in this new album with their classic sound but with a hint of something fresh. Phoenix’s line-up consists of Thomas Mars on vocals, Deck d’Arcy on bass and keyboards, Laurent Brancowitz on guitar and keyboards and Christian Mazzalai on guitar. This synth-heavy album blends new sounds for Phoenix but also interesting hooks.
The vocals throughout Bankrupt! remain reminiscent of Phoenix’s previous albums as there is a certain sound to Mars voice that is unique to him and Phoenix. Mars combines his sentences and even though the lyrics are not the ones that you can sing along to, his vocals are memorable. With that being said, the lyrics are not the thing that will stay on one’s mind but rather the tone of Mars voice throughout Bankrupt!. The title track is a nearly seven minute, synthesizer based song that does not necessarily focus on the vocals, but, they add an element to the song that makes more fascinating than if it was simply an instrumental.
The grooves on this album standout, especially in the opening song, “Entertainment,” that is easily absorbing as it is addicting. The mixture of a drum machine, synthesizer, and guitar riffs adds to eighties-centric melodies, which seems to be the main sound that Phoenix was trying to get to. These breezy melodies from three decades ago seems to give Phoenix a different sound from their previous records but adds character to their repertoire.
Phoenix in this new album shows that they are nostalgic for the music of the eighties but never strayed from their usual sound. There is a sound to Bankrupt that makes Phoenix seem like they are trying a bit too hard to revive eighties synthpop. Nevertheless, Phoenix has a catchy vibe to them that seems to draw listeners in.